CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – The speediness of their response can be the difference between life and death.
Dispatchers and call takers who answer your 9-1-1 calls at Chesapeake’s Emergency Communications Center make it their goal to help you as fast as possible, but in some recent cases, their response time has taken almost two times longer than usual due to a staffing shortage.
“Usually, morning rush hour and afternoon rush hour are kind of high-volume call times,” said Leo Kosinski with the Chesapeake Police Department.
Kosinski says they’re currently hiring for 22 positions.
One glance at their schedule and you can literally see the need, which has left their current employees working lots of overtime and callers waiting.
“Whenever someone calls in, ideally we want to be able to answer the phones and start delivering that service within 30 seconds of the phone starting to ring. Unfortunately, because of our current lack of manpower, it’s not always possible,” said Kosinski.
He says the staffing problem started a few years ago, but got much worse with social distancing and shutdowns over the past year.
“When the pandemic hit, that just caused problems across the board for everybody,” said Kosinski.
Kosinski says they’re in the process of training a group of new dispatchers, but need to hire call takers as soon as possible.
Anyone who’s interested can apply but will have to go through a background check.