News : Shortage Remains At 911 Call Center
Austin, TX, Oct 7, 2014 -- The Austin 911 center is getting more employees, but a much anticipated report on staffing at the 911 center revealed it's still not enough.
While you usually get an answer when you call 911, a call taker shortage, K-EYE told you about last year, put that at risk. Now it seems a major crisis has been avoided. "We went from 2 vacancies to 11 for call takers because of the 9 new call taker positions" said Commander Julie O’Brien.
Those nine new positions were approved with the new budget. There's still a problem however, O’Brien says she needs 12. "I'm very grateful and appreciative to the people that put the work in to us being able to get these positions. But that was yesterday, today I still need positions and I still need more" O’Brien explained.
The 12 positions are part of a three year plan to add a total of 31 call takers. So next fiscal year, instead of asking for an additional 12, she'll have to ask for 15 to make up for what she didn't get this year. "We can pat ourselves on the back but moving forward we need to do additional work" she says.
The same goes for dispatchers. Those are the employees who actually tell police officers where to go. So while a small shortage remains, it's much less significant and does more to ensure that when you need help, you get it right away.
Those 31 call taker positions, if filled in three years, would be enough to accommodate Austin’s growth. So if O’Brien gets them, we should avoid this situation in the future.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Thursday, October 9, 2014