Leon County officials and city of Tallahassee Consolidated Dispatch Agency are hiring additional dispatchers to handle the 67 percent of non-emergency reports.
The CDA is adding more employees so that 911 dispatchers can focus on making sure vital services are going where they are needed most without distraction.
The hires will also help the agency to fill a 23 percent vacancy in dispatch positions, which has forced those working the phones to log at least 16 hours of mandatory overtime per pay period to ensure there is someone to answer calls.
Interim CDA Director Dee Crumpler believes that the new hires will somewhat alleviate the staffing issues within two months.
“Within 60 days we’re going to have some major relief out here. Not complete relief," said Crumpler. "I don’t want there to be some assumption that everything is going to be better in 60 days.”
Starting Feb. 29, 16 Tier 1 dispatchers will begin a 120- day training program. The goal is to have them on a shift by April 4, followed by another 12 dispatchers projected to start in June.
The employees will get real-time experience with the option to continue with the full 9-months of required training to become state certified to handle emergency calls.
Joshua Parson, security officer for One Global Security, expressed that this is a step in the right direction.
"I think this move will help with safety overall. While I'm working on the weekend the cops will take forever to shut down parties," Parson said. "It's an issue because although a party doesn't pose a serious threat, but if it takes a while to shutdown it can turn into a huge problem."
Over two-thirds of 911 calls the CDA receives are unrelated to emergencies. The top six non-emergency calls were for private property tows and repossessions, delayed criminal mischief reporting, disabled vehicles and road obstructions.
Patrick Fenderson, fourth-year Florida A&M University criminal justice student feels that the new openings will help improve the economy.
"Without a doubt the people who are being employed will help improve the economy," Johnson said. "Not to mention the hires will be a big help to those around the community also."
For more information, visit http://www.tlccda.org/jobs/ The starting wage is $13.97 hourly.