A study of New York City's emergency communications system has revealed that New Yorkers' butts are steady calling the operators at 911, asking do they like them, asking are they asleep yet, asking what are they thinking about.
Unfortunately, though they take every call, 911 operators do not understand the words of butts, so these questions—all 4 million of them—go unanswered.
The NY Daily News reports that the study, prepared by an independent consulting agency, found that, of the 11 million emergency calls placed in New York City each year, over a third of them were believed to be "accidental," lasting 19 seconds or less.
While the Federal Communications Commission reported that, as of 2011, 70 percent of all 911 calls were made from mobile devices, it seems generous to assume that all of those truncated ones were the result of so-called "pocket dialings," as everyone is implying.
Some of them had to be kids prank-calling 911, then remaining paralyzed with silent fright for 19 seconds as they wondered if the adult speaking to them on the other end of the phone was about to have them arrested for tomfoolery.
While it is easily this detail of the report that has generated the most silly press coverage (people love butts, specifically big ones, and they cannot lie), the statistics actually have a sinister undercurrent: all those super-short accidental calls are making the city's 911 response time look particularly (inaccurately) good.
From the report:
"The NYPD reported the 2010 System Average Total Talk Time was 1:08 minutes. Since the total number of calls received includes approximately 3.9 million short calls, utilizing this metric as currently calculated does not accurately reflect the NYPD's time spent on received and processed 9-1-1 calls."
In other words, if you recalculated the average time operators spent on a call without factoring in the ones that lasted less than one third of one minute, the total time spent responding to calls would be considerably higher.
Unfortunately, the pocket-dialings making the city's response time look so good are also slowing down the average speed of answer for legitimate emergencies, by clogging up the phone lines.
The city commissioned the report following the massive bungle of emergency resources (including stranded ambulances and overloaded emergency call lines) that plagued New York during the December 2010 blizzard.
Mayor Bloomberg released an edited version of the findings last week only after a judge ordered him to do so. (For the record, Bloomberg has stated that he "didn't even bother to read" the $500,000 report.)
City officials had previously attempted to delay the release of the (highly critical) document, arguing that it was still "in draft form" and that to release it early might make city employees reluctant to "give or receive blunt or candid feedback" in the future.
If that's the case, those employees need to call New Yorkers' butts up and work through those self-esteem issues.
The Huffington Post reports that the city's fire unions are still attempting to hunt down the original, unedited version of the report (believed to contain over 70 additional pages), as they believe it would show that the mayor's recent emergency system overhauls (including combining the previously discrete operations of police, fire, and medical dispatchers) have actually led to longer response times.