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State agencies deal with shortage of dispatchers

Jun 14, 2023, 7:41 PM

BOUNTIFUL, Utah — Agencies across the Beehive State are dealing with staffing shortages for emergency responders.

Many people will likely never meet the face on the other side of the line when they call 911.

However, those faces belong to the people that help us when we need it the most. 

Lance Jacobs is one of those people, working as the Bountiful Police Department Lead Dispatcher. 

“We’re kind of the ones that are keeping people going until we get people there that can actually be hands on,” he said. 

That responsibility means a lot to this team of dispatchers with the Bountiful Police Department.

“Not everybody gets to go home every day and be like, ‘I saved a life,'” Megan Hayes-Carter, another dispatcher said.

The dispatchers cover North Salt Lake to Centerville and take around 200 calls per day.

There will always be someone to take your call, but there’s a shortage of dispatchers currently and that can influence emergency responses.

“We have to hang up on a call or disconnect with them,” Hayes-Carter said.

Amy Woodall has been a dispatcher with the Bountiful Police Department for 14 years and said when they’re short staffed, they send calls to other nearby agencies.

“If we’re running short, in general in the center, that can affect our ability to service to the community as well,” Woodall said.

But the staffing shortages aren’t just in Bountiful, a quick search on indeed.com shows dispatchers needed in Tooele, Salt Lake, Layton, and Box Elder County.

“Some centers are really, really struggling in keeping fully staffed,” Woodall said.

They hope to fill those positions so that someone will be there to take your call.

“It’s dispatch, we tie everything together. We’re the first, first responders,” Hayes-Carter said. 

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State agencies deal with shortage of dispatchers