CAPITAL REGION, N.Y.(NEWS10) – 911 dispatchers across the Capital Region are feeling the strain as they work to fill the gaps in their staffing. Local law enforcement agencies say they can handle a normal day but fear an emergency could slip through the cracks.
Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple says their call center is down four people.
“Almost everyone is down Personnel. The problem is, is that we just can’t get people involved in public safety right now,” said the sheriff.
Rensselaer County seeing a similar shortage. Spokesperson for the county, Rich Crist, sent NEWS10 the following statement:
“Rensselaer County is in a solid position for emergency dispatching. We have 39 positions in the department and there are four vacancies. We expect to make progress on filling the other positions in the coming weeks,” said Crist.
When asked what the problem is, Sheriff Apple tells NEWS10 that another test to be certified for a dispatcher job won’t be available for months.
“It takes three, four, five months to get those results back. Then you got to canvas. So, we’re talking a year out anyway before we can get anybody in there,” said Apple.
Apple says a new hire will cost about 60-100 thousand dollars to be fully trained and ready to go. Yet, he has a solution or two in mind
“I think one easy solution would be to just kind of put a pause on civil service. Let us get some of these ranks filled up. Or do something like a knowledge training and experience. The other option is you put in what’s called a provisional appointment. And you’re taking them on the basis that they can pass the test and they score and they’re reachable,” said Apple.
Apple says a new call center located behind the sheriff’s public safety facility in Clarksville will open in about three weeks.
NEWS10 has reached out to other Capital Region law officials to see how their call centers were being staffed and is awaiting a response.