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Cincinnati Looks At Streamlining Hiring Process For 911 Employees

Cincinnati Police Department
Cincinnati hopes to fully staff its emergency communications center by February 2019.

Cincinnati is working to streamline the process to hire 911 call takers and emergency dispatchers.  

The goal is to reduce the time between when people apply and when they find out if they get a job.  
Right now it can take nearly four months to make those hires at the emergency communications center (ECC).    

The city is recommending allowing applicants to take the necessary exam online at their convenience, and also dropping the requirement for filling out a 34-page questionnaire. Those applicants will still be subject to the city's normal background check.

The ECC also will setup a dedicated training team for new hires, and work on programs to retain employees at the center.

911 hiring
Credit Jay Hanselman / WVXU
A picture of the slide presented that outlines the goals of the hiring overhaul.

Acting city manager Patrick Duhaney says the city completed a review of the hiring process.

"It goes without saying how important our call takers and dispatchers are to making sure the 911 center operates effectively," Duhaney said. "We can make all the necessary technical upgrades, but the place will not function and will not work efficiently without the people that we bring into the seats."

A review found that last year the city had nearly 500 applicants but ended up hiring less than a dozen.  Nearly half dropped out before scheduling a time to take the exam.

"We're not lowering our standards and we're not adding any risks as well," said Jayson Dunn, manager of the ECC. "But we're really just refining the process so that it's easier and more accommodating to applicants. We were losing applicants just on multiple visits to the city unnecessarily. So we can control this process and maneuver our different applicant steps just so that we can retain more people."

Right now, the city has 92 positions filled in the emergency communications center and the goal is to reach the authorized complement of 126 by February.  

The city also will be working with the Xavier Leadership Center on professional development training for center employees.


Jay Hanselman brings more than 10 years experience as a news anchor and reporter to 91.7 WVXU. He came to WVXU from WNKU, where he hosted the local broadcast of All Things Considered. Hanselman has been recognized for his reporting by the Kentucky AP Broadcasters Association, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the Ohio AP Broadcasters.