A 'Technical Failure': Thousands of 911 calls 'lost'
5 On Your Side Investigates is getting more information about how tens of thousands of 911 audio recordings were lost by the Central County Dispatch Center, which handles emergency calls for parts of St. Louis County and Franklin County.
It was a tip from a viewer who wanted a recording of his own 911 call that alerted 5 On Your Side to this issue. This week, we learned eight months worth of 911 calls are unaccounted for.
That's a total of more than 62,554 records that are now lost.
The missing calls are from June 1, 2016 to January 30, 2017.
So what happened?
We caught up with Central County Dispatch Center attorney Rob Schultz Friday.
He claims that the recordings were lost when two hard drives and a recorder crashed earlier this year.
"I'm not sure how you can guard against hardware failures, especially when you've got duplicates" said Schultz. "It's not like we had one thing go down..we had the backup go down."
On the hopeful side, the lawyer also told us that if a call was a transfer from another 9-1-1 center, then there is a chance part of the audio could be recovered.
"Some of that audio is available from local police departments where the call went first," said Schultz.
Central County Dispatch is a secondary dispatch center, which means 911 calls generally don't go directly to the facility. Calls are referred to Central County by other dispatch centers.
Schultz says Central County Dispatch has since replaced those broken hard drives and that when things are running normally, they keep their audio files for at least a year.