Bethel’s Police Chief says that the Police Department needs dispatchers badly. Hearing concerns about slow police response time to calls, City Council member Leif Albertson invited Chief Burke Waldron to give an update on staffing needs at last week’s meeting.
Waldron said that the force has maintained coverage by putting officers on a two week on, two week off schedule, but it’s a different story when it comes to dispatchers.
“The bad news is dispatch,” Waldron said. “I’m struggling, and struggling, and struggling to keep dispatchers on board.”
Right now the department only has three dispatchers.
“It’s hard to cover 24/7 with three bodies, so that’s resulted in a lot of overtime to get those positions covered, including officers and myself; I’ve covered dispatch shifts,” said Waldron.
Waldron has tried to recruit, even offering the job as a two week on, two week off position, but to no avail.
“It’s a stressful, high speed, multi-tasking position, and they don’t want to do it for 14 consecutive days and I don’t blame them. I wouldn’t want to either,” said Waldron.
Waldron isn’t sure what the answer is, saying that it remains an ongoing struggle for the department. Additionally, he says, they’d like to bring back the Evidence Custodian position because they are having a hard time keeping up with records requests in time to comply with legally mandated timelines.