911 dispatchers working extra hours amid shortage in Dorchester County

DORCHESTER COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Dorchester County is facing a three-person shortage of 911 operators, which is forcing dispatchers to work more hours than usual.

The dispatch center is budgeted to employ 32 people who operate 911 calls, but only 29 work there now.

The communications supervisor for the center said they recently hired four workers, which helped fill the prior deficit.

Dispatchers for the county are having to come in on days off and work several hours of overtime to keep 911 lines staffed.

But the communications supervisor for Dorchester’s 911 center said the shortage in operators has not impacted the time it takes to handle people’s 911 calls. On average, the center gets more than 100 calls per day, according to the communications supervisor.

The shortage in Dorchester County mirrors a deficit in dispatch workers nationally and locally.

Charleston County, for example, faces a 48-person shortage of 911 operators.

Charleston is authorized to employ 139 dispatch operators and only employs 81 currently.

The county is currently training 10 dispatchers.

According to the director of Dorchester County's 911 center, several people have applied for the job, but not everyone has been qualified.

The supervisor of the Dorchester County 911 center said the base salary for a dispatch worker is a little more than $32,000.

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