By Mike Colgan

SAN JOSE (KCBS) – Overworked emergency dispatchers in San Jose were hoping to get some relief with the addition of nearly a dozen new colleagues.

“It’s always been historically hard to fill communications centers,” acknowledged San Jose 911 communications Manager Joey McDonald. “But we’ve had an exodus over the past couple of years so we’re at some of the lowest staffing levels we’ve been at since we opened up in 1990, so this will absolutely be a huge help to us.”

“It’s been difficult with the call takers that are there, taking call after call after call after call, there’s really no down time,” McDonald said.

A graduation ceremony was held in late March for 11 recruits, who must still undergo six months of training before they will be allowed to take 911 calls on their own.

“The excitement, it’s very consistent here,” Holly Heaven explained why she made the career change after 32 years in corporate security. “In corporate security, you spend 98% being ready and 2% responding and here it’s just about flipped.”

“My father was 25 years LAPD motorist division, my grandfather was on the force. This actually makes me technically the fifth generation in law enforcement so when I was looking at other opportunities, I saw this and thought you know what that could really be an exciting opportunity without having to carry a weapon,” she said.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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