Advertisement

911 dispatch shortage affecting some East Texas agencies

“We’re probably about 20 percent down,” Smith County Sheriff’s Office Captain Craig Halbrooks said. “Some months we’ll be down really low, to very few vacancies
Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 8:51 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The International Academies of Emergency Dispatch reports that some centers are struggling with as much as 30-50% dispatch vacancies. The situation in East Texas is not quite as dire, though there are some shortages.

“We’re probably about 20 percent down,” Smith County Sheriff’s Office Captain Craig Halbrooks said. “Some months we’ll be down really low, to very few vacancies. And some months like this, where we’re 6 or 7 short.”

Right now they do have applications that they are going over to hire, but once hired, there is still extensive training.

“A six months training program where they get a lot of experience doing the job before they’re released on their own.” Halbrooks said they will be fully staffed after their training.

Halbrooks said the main reason for the dispatch job shortage is because of the nature of the job itself.

“So any time that you’re dealing with people, every single call, someone is having a terrible day. And it takes a special person to be able to do that and we’re fortunate here that we have a good group of people here that are dedicated to doing that,” Halbrooks said.

“As of to date we are 39 percent down and have been for about the last two years,” Longview Police Department public information officer Brandon Thornton said. Longview Police Department is still hiring starting at about $16/hour, which is three percent more than what it was last year.

UT Health East Texas EMS said they are not experiencing a shortage:. In a statement to KLTV, they said, “UT Health East Texas EMS has been extremely fortunate in that we’re not seen the staffing shortages many in the 911 industry across Texas and the nation are experiencing. “

They said this is because of their in-house training.

“We’re also fortunate that as an Accredited Center of Excellence, UT Health East Texas EMS is able to provide our own in-house instruction on the medial triage protocols that we utilize, thus we are able to significantly decrease our onboarding time of new caregivers as we don’t have to wait on classes to become available.”

Copyright 2021 KLTV. All rights reserved.