The Dane County 911 Center’s failure to meet national standards for answering calls is simply unacceptable and must be reversed.

WISC investigative reporter Adam Schrager’s thoroughly researched story documenting a year’s worth of calls showing thousands took four times longer to answer than those national standards was nothing short of shocking.

We understand budget and staffing challenges. And we certainly understand the difficulty and stress of emergency response services. But citizens absolutely must – and in fact have every right to – expect that when they call 911 they will get a prompt response. Lives are at stake with some of those calls and waiting 40 seconds, to say nothing of an astonishing five minutes or more, is just not acceptable.

We don’t know what the answer is at this point. Far more troubling, 911 managers and board members don’t appear to know what the answer is. Well they better find out in a hurry.

A tragedy is inevitable under these circumstances and Madison cannot allow that to happen.