CPD nixes automated attendant during business hours

Published 5:45 pm Friday, February 1, 2013

An experience with an elderly man not being able to obtain the help he needed led Clanton Police Chief Brian A. Stilwell to decide to stop using an automated telephone attendant during normal business hours.

The change was effective as of noon on Friday.

A clerk will answer phone calls during normal business hours, while the automated attendant will still be used after hours, on weekends and holidays.

An auto attendant is a computer system that answers the phone and gives the caller options to press to reach certain employees or departments.

Stilwell implemented the automated attendant about two years ago to help deal with an overwhelming call load to the department’s non-emergency line.

“We field hundreds of phone calls every day, and it became overwhelming to our clerks so I added an automated phone attendant,” Stilwell said in a release. “We have made numerous technology upgrades in the past four years, and they have all made us more efficient and improved the service we provide to the public–except for the auto attendant. The public hates it.

“Many of our senior citizens still call our business number and not communications or 911.”

Stilwell said the decision was made after speaking with an elderly man that could not navigate through the system.

Stilwell reminded residents to call (205) 755-1120 for non-emergency police dispatch or 911 for emergency police/fire/rescue dispatch at any time.

The CPD business line is 755-1194, and the Clanton Municipal Court number is 755-6669.