As staffing challenges at Astoria’s 911 dispatch center persist, city leaders have taken measures such as increasing pay and adding support staff in hopes of attracting and retaining workers.
Staffing has been an issue for emergency dispatch centers nationwide and reached a critical point in Astoria last fall, when the city’s dispatchers temporarily merged with Seaside’s dispatch center.
After returning to normal operations in May, the city saw progress with recruitment and staffing levels. But the dispatch center had a setback in October, when two dispatchers resigned.
Police Chief Stacy Kelly said one dispatcher left after their spouse had to relocate for a job. The other, he said, left for a job with Clatsop County, where wages tend to be higher. The departures leave the city with five certified dispatchers, which includes the emergency communications manager and the supervisor. The dispatch center has capacity for 11 staffers.