LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- THV11 recently reported a shortage of dispatchers at the call dispatch center for the City of Little Rock and now that months have passed we wanted to check in to see where they stand.
THV11 has learned that hundreds of people have signed up to take on the job. According to the Little Rock dispatchers, every second and every minute counts and said the new hires and anyone wanting to work here need to realize how important their job is. Laura Martin, communications manager for the City of Little Rock, said call takers and dispatchers are the most important jobs in the Little Rock police department.
“A 911 operator is responsible for the lifeline of the officers, firefighters, as well as the citizens of Little Rock,” she said.
Call taker, Jessica Cudd, said the job can be extremely stressful.
“This entire job is full of liability, you want to make sure that when you call 911, the person you're talking to knows what they're doing,” she said. “You save people’s lives, bottom line, you're the first line of defense and the first line of help.”
911 dispatcher Sheryl Dykes said the calls don’t stop for anything. She has worked for the department for 23 years. She said she and her colleagues are the unsung heroes because they don't get enough credit from the public for what they do.
Earlier this year, the department had a shortage of dispatchers, so they announced they were increasing the pay, and so far so good. The shortage has been cut in half and Dykes said a full staff is in the near future.
“We have recruited ten new that will start on Monday, it'll be a year to two years before they're fully trained but at least we are chipping away at our staffing issues,” Martin said.
The department said it took down the job posting on their website because it received close to 200 applicants that they're now going through, however you can still submit an interest card if you'd like to apply and they will contact you as needed.