Smith County seeing shortage of 911 dispatchers as ‘nationwide decline’ of qualified candidates continues

Local News

SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – The Smith County Sheriff’s Office is seeing a shortage of 911 dispatchers, but this issue is bigger than the local dispatch center.

“We’re seeing a short decline nationwide of good qualified candidates putting in for these kind of positions,” Sergeant Larry Christian said.

Christian said it’s been difficult trying find new employees. Most of the workers are in training and can’t help carry the work load. Christian hopes when they get up to date, they can help fill the gap.

“We’re handling it and we’re going to be okay,” Christian said.

This isn’t only happening here in East Texas, it’s also a problem over in Austin. According to the information obtained through a Texas Public Information Act request, since 2019, more than 100 Austin Police Department 911 dispatchers, operators and supervisors resigned.

Leaders at the sheriff’s office say the lack of dispatchers impacts the entire community.

“So when we have a shortage of telecommunicators, it affects the deputies on the street, it affects the citizens, it affects basically the inner workings of the whole county,” Christian said.

Sergeant Christian went on to say, most of the 911 dispatchers at the Smith County Sheriff’s Office are in training right now.

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