Anaheim, Ca., has such a shortage of police dispatchers that the City Council approved giving up to $500 to any city employee who brought in a qualified candidate, the Los Angeles Times reports. Only seven of 1,359 applicants have made the final cut in the last two years. Human Resources Director Dave Hill said that the “shortage of 911 dispatchers is a widespread problem nationwide and here in California. [In Anaheim] it is more acute today than it has been.” Anaheim’s dispatcher program is arduous, and candidates drop out at every step of the way. The skills test stumps some candidates. “It takes just the right kind of person to fill that job,” said Police Capt. Craig Hunter, who oversees the dispatchers.
One day last week, the dispatch center fielded 1,400 calls with about five dispatchers on duty per shift – two fewer than the number authorized. There are perks. Employees alternate between working three-day and four-day work weeks usually in 12-hour shifts. Most people see their work pile up when they go on vacation, dispatcher John Carter said, but “not us. It’s fresh every day. You don’t have an inbox.” Starting salaries in Anaheim range from $41,808 to $50,814.