By Debby Stricker
The Washington County 911 Dispatching service is in jeopardy of losing its accreditation, the County Board learned at its September 14 meeting.
The Dispatching Office was not compliant in having 24 hour coverage at all times, 911 Committee Chairman Alan Hohlt reported.
The county must present a plan to the Illinois 911 Accreditation Board to show how it will recruit, train, and retain employees, Hohlt said. He heads the 911 Committee that will meet to devise a plan and submit it to the state by September 17.
If the county loses 911 accreditation, it will be forced to contract out the service at a much higher cost to the county.
Washington County recently increased the salaries to attract more employees, which resulted in twelve applicants. Of those, one fully certified former employee was hired full-time; two fully certified dispatchers (one who was a former WCS dispatcher) was hired to part-time status. Also, one former WCSO dispatcher, who will be in training for re-certification, was hired for part-time status.
The 911 Department has only three full-time employees and two part-time employees who are fully trained and able to work. Another full-time and one part-time employee are in the process to become trained and certified.
The optimal number is eight dispatchers in full time status, said Sheriff Len Campbell. “We are limited to hiring more immediately due to training requirements and the length of time for individual training.”
The Sheriff estimates the time for complete training is four to six months.
The Department is accepting applications, and will continue the hiring process when it is able to train more employees, Sheriff Campbell said.
(The Sheriff did not attend the Board meeting, but later provided the information.)
Read the full story in this week’s issue.