Delaware County seeks funding for more full-time dispatchers

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DELAWARE COUNTY, Ind. (May 28, 2015) - The director of the Delaware County E911 center says they need more funds to hire employees.

According to statistics from the Delaware County Justice Center, from 2012-2015, calls to 911 have increased dramatically. In April of this year, they answered more than six thousand calls. E911 Director Joe Winkle says while the calls have increased, the number of dispatchers has not.

“We’ve asked council to approve three full time positions and help us cut back on the part time. That will give us 40 hours a week and offer benefits," said Winkle.

Right now, the center has 31 full time and eight part time employees. Winkle says they are asking for more full time, rather than part time employees. He says it's difficult to train and keep part timers on staff.

"Our retention is only about 50 percent. What’s happened, is people either find another job where they’re making a little more money or find a job with some kind of benefits and it just seems like we’re constantly training," said Winkle.

He said they've listened to countless 911 tapes where dispatchers have not adequately completed their jobs.

“Everything’s about timing. Your goal is to get an address, the nature of the problem and send somebody," said Winkle.

To hire three full time dispatchers, it would cost on average, $50,000 per employee. That would include salary, training, and insurance. Winkle said it's hard to find people with dispatch experience.

Once employees are hired, the retention rate is crucial, Winkle explained. He said handling calls comes with experience that you can only get with time.

"Until you answer that 911 call with somebody screaming on the other end, we don’t know if you’re gonna be any good or not," said Winkle.

The council will vote at the end of June on the funding.

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