911 center needs dispatchers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

911 center needs dispatchers

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EMA Deputy Director Jim Vaught EMA Deputy Director Jim Vaught
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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – Dougherty County's 911 center is short handed this holiday season with eight dispatcher positions to fill. They've received 130 applications,  but filling the jobs won't be easy.

Four dispatchers were fired in October after abusing the system and conducting unauthorized back ground checks.

Fire investigator Sam Hall is just beginning lengthy background checks on 911 applicants who agreed to have their information released.

It's not an easy job.   Raven Dorns talked a man through CPR on a two and a half month old who was found unresponsive on Monday. 

"These individuals are the first line in public safety. This is the person who takes the call from somebody who is probably very distraught at that moment, they calm them down, they get the information they need," said EMA Deputy Director Jim Vaught.

EMT's arrived quickly but were unable to revive the infant, but that's why the city takes the hiring of eight new 911 dispatchers very seriously. In the 130 applications they received, only 91 have agreed to extensive background checks. 

"They go in to see if they have any arrests or convictions that type of thing because they are working with sensitive information," said Vaught.

They've already been given a typing test, they'll face a polygraph and drug screening and several days of intense interviews with a panel of reviewers, including police or 911 operators outside Dougherty County.

"They'll be given certain scenarios and they're going to tell us what they would do during that particular event."

After four dispatchers were fired in October for abusing the system, they're holding everyone to higher standard. Short several dispatchers because of the firings, they'd like to have the jobs filled soon.

"They're picking up the shortage by working overtime hours," said Vaught.

But they won't let the rush compromise the integrity of the search and hope to have those eight positions filled by the end of January. 

Dispatchers work 12 hour shifts and Dougherty County's 911 center runs two day shifts and two night shifts with eight dispatchers on each shift. Officials hope to be ready to start interviews after the first of the year.

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