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Tulsa in need of 911 dispatchers

Posted at 6:42 PM, Feb 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-05 19:45:11-05

TULSA - Dispatchers help people through their worst days and first responders through those tough emergencies.

Right now, Tulsa's Dispatch Center is short-handed and in desperate need of operators to help keep up with the amount of calls everyday.

It takes an average of three minutes for dispatch to process a call.

So, when their numbers are down, it could mean a slower response time from police.

It's a nationwide issue now hitting home.

A 911 dispatcher shortage caused in part by a high burnout rate.

911 Communications Director Terry O'Malley said they got behind on hiring and need 31 more dispatchers as soon as possible.

"We actually hired a hiring analyst to help us streamline our hiring process," O'Malley said.

The shortage means residents are having to wait to speak to a dispatcher, something O'Malley said they're working to improve.

"During the busiest hour of the week we should be answering 90 percent of those calls that come in during the busy hour," O'Malley said. "When I first got here it was anywhere from 49 to 54 percent. We're now up to high 60's to high 70's."

A must for the job is having the ability to think and act quickly.

"You've got to be able to multi-task and operate technology, run your computer and listen on the phone," O'Malley said.

A dispatcher also has the critical job of keeping officers safe.

"Sometime between us being in route to this call, it could all of a sudden change to something else," said Officer Danny Bean with the Tulsa Police Department. "Maybe they came home, saw it was broken into and they get a second look and they're actually still inside."

The pay starts at just over $16 an hour and you need a GED or high school diploma to apply.

For more information on applying, click here.

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