Above: Starting Thursday, anyone who calls the non-emergency police line will be able to use an automated system. As Eric Szeto explains, many believe it will help provide better service.
EDMONTON – The Edmonton Police Service has launched a new system designed to streamline the non-emergency calls made to its call centre and operators.
The Interactive Voice Response system is an automated call system for non-emergency calls.
Until now, the police communications branch handled all emergency and non-emergency calls in the call centre at police headquarters.
Police say IVR will allow operators to deal with more emergency calls and the system will provide faster access to information for callers with non-emergencies.
“For example, if they’re looking for a seized vehicle, there’s one where it’ll give them the toll lot rather than waiting for the cue where one of us get free to assist them, then look it up, and then give them the same answer that they would get in the cue,” explained Ray Court, an emergency communications officer.
Police believe the IVR will decrease the number of non-emergency calls handled by operators by about 20 per cent.
The interactive response system will automate the non-emergency phone line so that callers can select from a menu that provides two call paths: “Questions or information” and “complaints.”
“We want to get that message out to the public… please don’t use our 911 as a switch board. It ties up our 911 resources for real emergency calls,” said Sgt. Mitch Liwczak.
Callers will be able to use the new system to get information about matters like police station locations, phone numbers and hours, switchboard information and hours, information on how to report a crime online, and reporting a vehicle collision.
Callers will still be transferred to a 911 operator if their situation requires it.
The non-emergency phone line is #377 from a mobile phone and 780-423-4567 from a land line.
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