Plano 911 is hiring.
The dispatch center is budgeted to have 71 positions, but currently, only 46 of them are filled.
Director Susan Carr said the shortage does not affect call times, but they want to be fully staffed in case of any surges. In April, Carr said 90 percent of calls were answered in 10 seconds or less, which is industry standard.
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But the shortage also means her current employees are working plenty of overtime.
"It comes at a cost to the employee. I don't want to burn my employees out. They get so tired and then they will want to leave," Carr said.
Carr said they receive about 1,000 applications a month through online job sites like Indeed or Monster, but only about one percent of those people are qualified.
You could say being a 911 dispatcher is Kathy Roberts's calling. After all, she's been with Plano for the last 15 years.
"It's a difficult position. It does take a special person to do it," Roberts said. "But at the end of the day, you can go home and say, 'I helped somebody get through the worst day of their life today.'"
It's that same rewarding experience that convinced Chris Casillas to become a Plano 911 dispatcher recently, after spending 10 years in the U.S. Navy as an intelligence officer.
"When I came out of the military and I was looking to try to get into law enforcement, it just kind of felt right," Casillas said. "Since I wasn't out on the streets protecting and serving, I wanted to do it from here."
In Plano's 911 center, dispatchers take an average of 1,200 calls per day. Their busiest hour is 5 p.m.
Plano 911 dispatchers' starting pay is $19.23 per hour. It is a full-time job with benefits. Applicants must go through a rigorous hiring process and background checks. To learn more, CLICK HERE.
Frisco police have eight openings out of 24 authorized positions.
McKinney police have 20 positions filled and are hiring three dispatchers.