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Minneapolis expanding 911 services ahead of Derek Chauvin trial

The city is preparing for a potential rise in emergency calls as the trial of a former officer accused in the death of George Floyd begins Monday morning.

MINNEAPOLIS — During last year's unrest following the death of George Floyd, Minneapolis police say their 911 system got overloaded. That in turn led to slow response times or no response at all.

This time around though, there’s an overwhelming sense of urgency across Minneapolis as the city reaches the final days of preparation before the opening statements in the Derek Chauvin trial begin Monday morning.  

Part of that preparation involves having an adequate amount of 911 operators ready to respond to a potential influx of emergency calls. 

"We’re getting lots of questions from the public about this topic," said Joanie Hodne, Assistant Interim Director for the Minneapolis Emergency Communication Center. 

Last summer’s unrest lead to several backups through 911 dispatch, delaying response times and putting a strain on emergency resources. 

"We’ve acquired a temporary backup facility that will allow us to have additional telecommunicators to answer phonelines," said Hodne. 

City officials plan to partner with other neighboring agencies if cell towers become overloaded, while also using an additional radio channel to re-route calls. 

"Should our 911 calls roll to another dispatch center, they can communicate to us on that 911 radio line as well or transfers medical emergency calls directly to our medical partners," said Hodne. 

They say communication is key, and this time around city officials say safety will be a shared responsibility both by phone and online at the city's website. 

"We will continue to monitor these sites on a regular basis to make sure that we can ensure the best possible service to the residents of the city of Minneapolis.”

For non emergencies or to report suspicious activity, city officials are asking the public to dial 311.