911 calls become top mayoral issue

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SAN DIEGO -- Complaints about 911 calls have pierced the race for mayor of San Diego.

The charge against the city comes amid a flurry of publicity about unfortunate and “unacceptable'' delays in San Diego's response to several extremely urgent 911 calls.

“It’s time the city tell the truth, and tell the people the 911 system is broken,” said mayoral candidate Ed Harris.

There are currently 166 police officer vacancies and 18 dispatcher jobs that need to be filled, according to police chief Shelley Zimmerman.

“Our goal is to have the finest emergency call response in the entire state,” said mayor Kevin Faulconer.

Read MoreCity officials vow to fix 911 system

Last month, a Mira Mesa couple whose dog had mauled their newborn son was repeatedly unable to get through to a 911 operator, officials said. Following the futile attempts to get an ambulance sent out, they took it upon themselves to rush the child to a hospital, where the infant was pronounced dead.

Two other delayed-response cases that recently came to light involved home invasions in Bankers Hill and La Jolla last fall. During those incidents, first reported by Voice of San Diego, residents waited more than eight minutes and nearly six minutes, respectively, to get hold of dispatchers after finding intruders in their homes in the middle of the night.