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Dispatcher shortage impacting Pueblo Police

In mid-October, the dispatch center was only half staffed
The Dispatch Manager says it has been several years since they have operated with a full staff
Posted at 4:19 PM, Nov 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-23 07:39:11-05

PUEBLO — For police officers, dispatchers are the first line of contact to the public in an emergency. However, the dispatch center at the Pueblo Police Department is feeling the impacts of the nationwide staff shortage.

"It's a difficult job. Some people just can't handle not just the stress, but the ability to multitask and the gravity of the position itself," said Kim Jeffries, the Dispatch Manager.

On October 11, the dispatch center was only half-staffed with 12 employees, five of which were having to undergo over six weeks of training for the position. This data was presented to Pueblo City Council in a Work Session by the Chief of PPD.

Data presented to City Council by the Pueblo Police Chief regarding the staffing shortage in the dispatch center.

After November 2, the center hired seven new employees. That brought them to a total of 17 dispatchers.

"It's difficult cause we definitely want to serve the citizens, but we can only do the best that we can with as many resources that we have," said Jeffries.

Sergeant Frank Ortega with PPD says having a dispatcher who asks the right questions in a time of crisis is critical for officers in the field.

Many of the current dispatchers have had to work 16+ hour shifts to make up for the shortage.

"It's concerning because you now, they're at work the whole time they're here. There is very little downtime in this position so when they are here, even the 8 hours that they do, they're hard 8 hours," said Ortega.

New dispatchers must complete a two-week dispatch academy and undergo six weeks of call training, plus other steps before actually beginning their job.

The center is still actively hiring, if you are interested in applying click here.