For months, Mayor Bloomberg has shamefully held back on releasing a consultant’s report on the city’s revamped, $2 billion 911 emergency response system, a review ordered after the disastrous response to the 2010 snowstorm.
Now we know why: The findings paint a terrible picture of what happens when a New Yorker picks up the phone and calls for help.
Virginia-based Winborne Consulting found that:
1. NYPD and FDNY 911 dispatchers waste time asking callers duplicate questions and taking down identical information;
2. multiple conflicting databases — which Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway acknowledged date to the 1960s and ’70s — result in dispatchers sending some units to the wrong address;
3. the city doesn’t count response time from the beginning of a 911 call, and
4. response time averages include many calls that are actually the result of that scourge of the cell phone age: mistaken butt-dialing.
All this raises truly disturbing questions about an operation that is challenged daily during routine calls for help and would be supremely tested in the event, God forbid, of another terrorist attack. Implicated is not only the supposedly state-of-the-art call center — for which City Hall spent $680 million alone — but the management of the switchover and the instruction required to make the technology work.
As I noted yesterday, the city has been sitting on this report for awhile and STILL refuses to release the whole unedited thing.
Bloomberg claimed the report is not finished and may contain errors, which might lead New Yorkers to make erroneous conclusions about the state of the system and Bloomberg's handling of it.
This same problem did not bother Bloomberg when it came to the error-riddled Teacher Data Reports - you know, the ones with the maximum margins of error of 87%.
Those he got out as soon as he possibly could because, as he said,
no evaluation system is every gonna be perfect...Parents have a right to know every bit of information that we can possibly collect about the teacher that's in front of their kids. This is about our kids' lives. This is not about anything else.
But an unedited version of the 911 report - that he can't release because it might contain errors.
That information people don't have the right to know.
Even though that information is, quite literally, about people's lives.
The difference between the TDR's and the 911 report, of course, is that this time if there are errors in the data the city is releasing, the errors might make him look bad, as opposed to teachers.
But the reality is, this report doesn't contain errors - it contains unvarnished truth about how much money Bloomberg has wasted to develop as system that is no better than what came before, that is STILL costing much more money than it should and what is much, much worse, costing lives of people who could have been saved.
$2 billion down the drain so far and counting.
We don't know how many lives have been wasted because of this system because Bloomberg refuses to release the data and tell us.
When does Bloomberg get held accountable for this mess?