ROGERS COUNTY 911 DISPATCHERS FACE LONG HOURS AMID STAFFING SHORTAGES
Ch. 6 - July 12, 2023 6:56 am
ROGERS COUNTY, Okla. –
Challenges are being felt in Rogers County as officials struggle to fill 911 dispatcher positions. The staffing shortages mean that dispatchers are currently working about 60 hours a week.
Leaders from the Northeast Oklahoma Enhanced 911 Trust Authority, which covers most of Rogers County, say they don’t have enough people applying or meeting the requirements to become a dispatcher.
Vicki Atchley, the Director of the 911 Trust Authority, says the job of a dispatcher is fast-paced and training is extensive, ranging from 18 months to three years before receiving full certification.
Atchley says the shortages are being felt across the country when it comes to dispatchers and air traffic controllers. According to Atchley, it can be challenging getting people to work in a field that isn’t seen by the public, But she says the work they do is essential.
“We hear the screams to begin with and we calm the caller down. Nobody thinks of how that nexus between how the police officers and how the firefighters get their call. They get them from dispatch,” Atchley said.
Atchley says those working for smaller agencies are required to have a variety of skill sets compared to larger counties with more resources.
“These dispatchers can be taking a traffic call and dealing with CPR at the same time. So they are answering the phones, answering the radios. They are doing multiple things at the same time. At the larger agencies, you do call taking, you do radio dispatching,” Atchley said.
Those interested in applying for a dispatcher position must have a high school diploma or GED.
For more information, or to receive an application e-mail [email protected]