MPD in Need of Dispatchers 02/25/14
CBS 7 News
February 25, 2014
MIDLAND—The Midland Police Department is having a hard time keeping its dispatching unit fully staffed and the high volume of 9-1-1 calls they receive on a daily basis doesn't help either, especially when most of those calls are non-emergency.
Communications Manager Eva Luna, says the shortage has caused her to step in and help answer calls to make sure her employees are getting breaks throughout their 12 to 16 hour long days.
Since December, four dispatchers have quit and now they're only 50% staffed.
"That means people have to work a lot of overtime, [which] means we have part timers that come in and work to bring up the minimum of staffing to 4 or 5," Luna said.
Now the department is asking officers to not call dispatch for small request that they are able to do on their computers in their patrol cars.
Last year alone the number of emergency calls taken increased from 71,416 in 2012 to 78,102 in 2013 and more of those calls are coming from non-emergency callers.
"It is not an emergency unless life and property are in danger, especially life," said Luna.
She says you would be surprised what people call 9-1-1 for.
"[Sometimes] they want to know information about an event that's being held in Midland, that is not an emergency," said Luna.
The community can help ease the growing stress on dispatch workers by simply directing their calls to the appropriate office—for non-emergencies individuals can call either 432-685-7110 or 432-685-71-08.
Anyone who is interested in becoming a dispatcher can visit the city website at: http://www.midlandtexas.gov/237/Police.