Dallas Police Hiring More 911 Call Takers

UPDATED | March 30, 2017 6:55 PM

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – As the City of Dallas works to try to improve it’s 911 call-taking response, the Dallas Police Department is hosting a Dallas Police Communications Career Fair.

It happens on Friday, March 31 and Saturday, April 1 from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. both days.

The career fair will be at the Jack Evans Police Headquarters, 1400 South Lamar Street, Dallas, Texas 75215.

In addition to hiring 911 call taker trainees the police department is hiring police dispatchers as well.

Deputy Chief James Walton said, “We really think we’re going to have a large turnout.”

Walton says the department is speeding-up the hiring process. “We’re going to basically make it where you can do all that in one day versus having to maybe make multiple trips to do it over a couple of weeks.”

The city needs 911 call takers after two deaths this month may be linked to lengthy delays in people reaching a 911 operator.

On Monday and Tuesday, the city says its call center continued to miss its goal of answering emergency calls within ten seconds, 90 percent of the time.

It was 86 percent Monday and 88 percent Tuesday.

This even after the city added 12 call-takers daily.

In some cases, police have moved neighborhood officers into the 911 call center, a move criticized by some city council members, including Adam Medrano, who chairs the Public Safety Committee. “To have them taken to work 911 is to me, I see it as putting a Band-Aid on this issue.”

The job starts at more than $33,000 and Walton says the city is studying whether the salary is competitive with other cities.

Dallas police will also provide training so the 911 call takers receive their state license, something they must obtain within one year of being hired.

Applicants are required to pass a background check.

They can’t be convicted of a felony or a class A misdemeanor, or a class B misdemeanor in the past ten years.

In addition, job-seekers must have a high school diploma or GED, and have two years of customer service experience related to a call-center or dispute resolution.

Police say if the applicant has 45 semester hours, it will waive one year of the customer service requirement.

But Deputy Chief Walton says there is something else very important: “This 911 call-taker, that is a difference-making position. You really do want to have a servants heart. This is something you got to want to do.”

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