ADD YOUR NAME: Tell the City to Hire More Bilingual 9-1-1 Dispatchers

In a city as diverse as San Francisco, we need bilingual 9-1-1 dispatchers.

We currently face a shortage of bilingual 9-1-1 dispatchers in San Francisco, while a full 21% of our residents report having limited English proficiency. It is time for the Department of Emergency Management to provide services to ALL San Franciscans and hire more bilingual 9-1-1 dispatchers. The 9-1-1 language barrier has created unnecessary and life-threatening delays for victims of crime, putting everyone at risk. Our criminal justice system is failing to protect immigrants and non-English speaking residents, and that’s unacceptable.

Every second of delay is critical to victims of violent crime, and if the victim is in need of translation services, those seconds quickly turn into minutes and in some cases, hours. Right now, when non-English speaking victims calls 9-1-1, dispatchers must find another dispatcher who speaks the language or patch in a third party translator to join the call — creating delays and confusion at a time when lives are at stake.

We recently experienced a horrific example of this delay and confusion when police took four hours to respond to a violent robbery of a Cantonese-speaking bakery owner in the Excelsior. The translator who was patched into the 9-1-1 call failed to assess if he was injured and required immediate attention. A Cantonese-speaking 9-1-1 dispatcher would have known to send help immediately — instead of four hours later.

As a daughter of immigrants, I’ve seen my whole life the challenges of language access. We are a bilingual city and need more bilingual 9-1-1 dispatchers who speak the most common languages spoken in San Francisco, such as Cantonese/Mandarin, Spanish, Tagalog, Russian, and Vietnamese, and these bilingual dispatchers should always be on call.

Sign my petition today to tell the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management to hire the bilingual 9-1-1 dispatchers that our city needs.

Thank you,


Tell the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management to Hire More Bilingual 9-1-1 Dispatchers