Half-staffed Columbia dispatchers symbolic of work challenges | Panda Anku

Boone County Joint Communications continues to feel the stress of job vacancies.

Agency representatives joined 10 other employers this week at a hiring event hosted by the Columbia Job Center at the Daniel Boone Regional Library.

Another job fair is scheduled for September 22 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Armory Sports and Recreation Center at 701 E. Ash St. in Columbia. 22 hiring companies will take part in this event.

The lack of shared communication has resulted in a lot of overtime for dispatchers, said Representative Stacie Horrell.

“Someone has to be there to answer the phone,” Horrell said.

There is a multi-step process to becoming a dispatcher, including an initial test and interview. Once a person passes this stage, they advance to the training classes.

“We don’t really have a set number that we’re hiring. We hired up to 10 people at a time,” said Representative Cassie Walton. “We had six in the last grade.”

An operator works at Boone County Joint Communications.

A full contingent is 61 full-time employees. The joint communications had 33 full-time employees as of Wednesday. There are 28 full-time positions.

Even a new hire is a success, Horrell said.

There are three shifts, each with up to six dispatchers including a supervisor.

“I think a lot of people don’t know what we’re doing,” Horrell said. “We are working to spread the information.”

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