10 new 911 dispatchers hired in St. Louis County to help close the shortage gap

Councilmember Mark Harder says they need to fill 8-9 more 911 dispatch positions
Ten new 911 dispatcher recruits were introduced Tuesday night during St. Louis County’s Council meeting.
Published: Nov. 14, 2023 at 10:19 PM CST
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Ten new 911 dispatcher recruits were introduced Tuesday night during St. Louis County’s Council meeting.

St. Louis County Police said in 2023, its dispatchers took 700,000 911 calls, but regionally response times have been slow – because there’s a shortage – leaving current dispatchers overwhelmed.

“We all want to be helpful and a service to our community,” said Will Bland, one of the new St. Louis County recruits. “It’s really about being a service to others and making sure people get the help that they need when they need it.”

Bland’s life of service is what he said drew him to begin the roughly 8-week training to become a dispatcher.

St. Louis County councilmember Mark Harder told First Alert Four this is the first 911 dispatcher class in a while.

Jill Flannigan, another new recruit, said it’s all about community for her.

“So to come on and do a job like this and to help people in dire need of assistance, as soon as possible and as efficiently as possible, means the world to me,” said Flannigan

Long hold times and delayed responses in St. Louis City are blamed for a mother of four dying after a September car crash, according to family members.

Back in September, St. Charles County passed an emergency bill to hire contracted 911 dispatchers. At the time, they were short ten dispatchers.

“Jobs are short-handed, and it’s disheartening, but being in this entity said a lot about this group,” said Bland.

St. Louis County 911 dispatcher recruits will make roughly $45,000 a year and hope to close the gap in response times to ultimately save lives.

“At the end of the day, it’s to help the community and our officers on the streets,” said Flannigan

Councilmember Harder said St. Louis County is looking to hire 8-9 more dispatchers.

Councilmember Rita Heard Days said since the shortages seem to be a regional issue, she wouldn’t be opposed to merging St. Louis City and St. Louis County dispatch.