The United States faces a critical challenge with over one-third of emergency call centers being significantly understaffed, coupled with a surge in call volumes. A current solution that very few states have begun testing is the implementation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for handling non-emergency calls in 911 dispatch centers, allowing human operators to prioritize emergency calls. However, there is a lack of understanding regarding the effective implementation of AI into emergency dispatch infrastructure, and ethical considerations and strategies to mitigate associated biases with AI remaining underexplored. This study aims to address these gaps by identifying barriers to AI implementation in dispatch systems and addressing potential biases by controlling for the identified obstacles. This will be achieved by first conducting interviews with operators to explore potential disparities and inefficiencies in such AI usage in emergency management systems. We plan to hold virtual interviews with a sample of the county coordinators or directors from 911 dispatch centers and public safety answering points (PSAPs) of counties in the state of Michigan.

By leveraging large language models, the study seeks to take the insights gained from the interviews and develop advanced bots capable of responding to non-emergency events with human-like text (e.g., creating prompts that mimic operator responses to gather detailed information from callers), while actively mitigating potential biases present in the model and evaluating its effectiveness via algorithmic fairness testing metrics.

The expected results from this study will explicitly delineate challenges to AI implementation in emergency dispatch systems, an area with significant paucity in existing research, and propose solutions to overcome these barriers with equity-driven models. This interdisciplinary research intersects emergency management, public health, and natural language processing, to set ethical precedents for AI deployment in vital emergency services.

If you have experience with managing 911 dispatch centers in the state of Michigan and would like to participate in this study, please contact Christin Salley at

To learn more information about this study, please visit the project information sheet.

Core team members