The Pettis County Ambulance District Board of Directors approved funding of an additional dispatcher for the Sedalia Police Department during Tuesday night’s board meeting.
“Those people are mighty busy downstairs,” said Sedalia Police Chief John DeGonia who gave a presentation to the board along with SPD Cmdr. Larry Ward. “Last month, we had over 120,000 phone calls,” he said.
The board agreed to fund the base salary of $28,142 for a full-time dispatcher and the approximately $13,000 in benefits for the position. Even though the district is funding the position, that position would be a police department employee, DeGonia said.
The SPD proposed adding two full-time dispatchers at city budget hearings last month — one funded by the city and the other funded by PCAD. The open city position has yet to be determined since city budget negotiations are still in process.
“Vacations are difficult to schedule for the dispatchers and the time they need for training,” Ward said. “We need these positions.”
The SPD has nine dispatchers and one floating position working different shifts 24 hours a day. There are two dispatchers on duty per shift. There is a supervisor who is a sworn officer, but that person only works one shift per day. The two new positions would enable the SPD to schedule dispatchers on a shift, DeGonia said.
One board member said they should wait to work out any details with the city regarding cost before approving the position.
Ward told the board that the department has people in mind for the position who have been “shadowing” the dispatchers observing how they perform their jobs, but they have waited to begin required testing for the position until the funding is approved. The board then agreed to fund the position.
PCAD Administrator Mike Gardner said the board came to its decision to fund the position because they know the issues these people face everyday and commended the dispatchers for their excellent performance.
Gardner said the new positions would help PCAD staff perform their jobs more efficiently.
“Once we receive calls correctly, it helps our staff to make correct judgments,” Gardner said.
Reach Tim Epperson at 660-530-0146.