The Boone County Commission unanimously passed an order approving the creation and hiring of six new full-time positions for Public Safety Joint Communications to expand and improve service as part of the transition of operations from the City of Columbia to Boone County Government.
The order authorizes the hiring of five Emergency Telecommunicator positions, which receive emergency and non-emergency calls for assistance from the public and dispatch emergency assistance. The five new employees add the capacity of one 24/7 call-taker, bringing Joint Communications' total to six.
Additionally, the creation and hiring of one Training/Quality Assurance Coordinator was approved. This position is responsible for training 911 personnel and facilitating quality assurance programs.
Each employee will be hired as a Boone County employee, and will have his or her salary funded by the sales tax that passed in April to expand 911 and Emergency Management operations in Boone County.
"Adding additional call-takers has been a priority of the County, and is a crucial first step in expanding current operations as promised by the passage of the sales tax," said Boone County Presiding Commissioner Dan Atwill. "These positions have been needed for a very long time and will improve 911 service for every citizen in Boone County. I look forward to being able to hire even more staff when we have the increased space and improved technology at the new facility."
Training for each of the new call-takers can take as long as six months. The new call-takers will train at the Boone County Law Enforcement campus, as is currently routine.
"We have been working with the City of Columbia to enhance current operations as quickly as possible, making sure citizens have the level of responsiveness they expect when calling 911," said Boone County Treasurer Nicole Galloway, who chairs the County/City 911 Transition Committee. "The Blue Ribbon panel of experts that reviewed our 911 operations in 2012 as part of the ballot initiative identified additional staff as one of the key areas Boone County needed to focus as operations transitioned. That is why it was so important to get these new positions approved."
Boone County expects the new 911 and Emergency Management facility to be open by the end of 2015.
The new dispatch positions are posted here.