Niceville’s Police Department is in desperate need of dispatchers. As of July 12th, the department has a total of three dispatchers on the roster – a fourth dispatcher resigned last week. It leaves just one dispatcher per shift – not including holidays, vacation, or sick leave for the dispatchers currently on Niceville’s staff.
According to Niceville’s Police Chief, David Popwell – the department is doing everything it can to work with the situation until they can hire a couple of dispatchers. “Right now, we are trying to find part-timers, full-timers, we’re trying to get some of the officers certified,” Popwell said. One officer, currently on light duty, has been assigned to complete the dispatch coursework necessary to become certified in order to act as a backup.
But the department’s officers are short on manpower as well. Currently, the department is nine officers, almost a full shift, short.
The department currently starts communications officers, more commonly known as dispatchers, at $33,937 – or about $16 an hour. In addition, the department offers a $2,000 signing bonus, and benefits.
“It is very hard to be a dispatcher right now, but it’s not just [Niceville] right now,” Chief Popwell said, “Recruiting for any position in law enforcement, including dispatch, is very difficult. It’s practically impossible at this time. Nobody wants to do it. I have nine openings for police officers right now – and we [added] two officers this week. Those two officers are probably the first two applications we have gotten in six months. There is no one applying, there is no one that wants to do the job.”
If you want to apply to be either a police officer or a dispatcher, you can apply in-person at the police department at 212 Partin Drive in Niceville or online at Niceville.Org.