Lebanon police may soon add more dispatchers.
Chief Scott Bowen hopes to add four part-time dispatchers with funds from the city’s 2014-2015 budget.
The department currently employs 10 full-time dispatchers and two part-time dispatchers, and Bowen said the additional dispatchers would be primarily used as backup in case someone calls out.
According to Mayor Philip Craighead, the city aims to have at least three dispatchers on duty at all times, but that’s not always possible with the current number of employees.
“The reach the three, which is the comfort level we’ve wanted to fill, we need the four part-time,” said Craighead.
Councilor Tick Bryan, whose wife works as a dispatcher for the department, said he’d heard of instances when patrol officers had to dispatch because there weren’t enough dispatchers for a shift.
“We don’t want to jeopardize the safety of the town because we don’t have someone to come in if someone’s sick,” said Bryan. “We should never not have enough personnel to do the job, and right now we don’t have enough people to do the job.”
Craighead said it would cost $77,000 to reach the target level of service.
“If I didn’t think we needed this, I wouldn’t be here asking for it,” said Bowen.