EDMOND, Okla. (KFOR) – Edmond’s 911 Communications Center has been hit by staffing shortages, down 40 percent, making it harder for dispatchers to keep up with 911 calls.

Christie Jaggi, communications operations manager, said members of her department have been asked to work longer hours to adhere to the department’s shift minimum.

“It’s a tough job. There’s a lot of stress,” said Jaggi. “The nature of the calls that they’re dealing with and missing out on life with their families.”

Jaggi said the call center has four open dispatch positions and four more in training. She said there were several reasons for the shortage but for many people it was the time it took to get hired and trained that kept some from applying.

The hiring process can take between six to eight weeks, followed by eight to 10 months of paid training. It can take a full year to fill a position when someone leaves.

“There’s a lot to learn,” said Jaggi. “We take a slow and steady approach to training to make sure they know exactly what they’re doing.”

It’s become a chronic problem for Oklahoma City as well over the past year. The 911 communications center has 17 open positions.

“We’re doing everything we can right now to get dispatchers through training as quickly as possible and recruit as many as we can,” said MSgt. Gary Knight, Oklahoma City police.

News 4 also reached out to other metro police departments, from Norman to Shawnee and Del City, who all said they too had vacancies. In fact, the problem is nationwide.

Jaggi said, with Edmond’s growth, it was vital to be fully staffed.

“Our call volume is definitely increasing,” said Jaggi. “So having those trained and qualified dispatchers here is becoming more and more important to us every day.”

Both Edmond and Oklahoma City said it will offer signing bonuses for dispatchers. Edmond also said they offer raises after six months. Click here to apply in Edmond. Click here to apply in Oklahoma City.