Council approves hires for dispatch

Published 6:45 am Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Local dispatch will soon be getting some reinforcements.

The office that handles emergency calls for Austin Police and the Mower County Sheriff’s Department will be hiring two new part-time workers after city council gave the OK Monday night.

Currently, four of the 14 dispatchers are on leave, and a fifth employee could potentially go on medical leave soon. The remaining dispatchers have had to work overtime to fill the void, communications supervisor Marlys Sorlie said.

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And with the office so strained, some dispatchers were looking at essentially no holiday time off if new hires didn’t come in, Sorlie added.

“It’s a really bad time right now,” she said.

Sorlie said she has people with previous experience lined up to be hired. They will need to learn some equipment specific to the office, but Sorlie said that won’t take much time at all.

And because the part-timers will be new to the Austin office, Sorlie said they will always be paired will a full-time dispatcher in case they need help.

Because the office is shared by city and county authorities, the request for new dispatchers also needed county approval. The Mower County Board of Commissioners did that on Dec. 1.