News12 First at Five/ 4/28/14
Augusta, Ga (WRDW)-------Augusta City leaders approved bringing on more 911 dispatchers. We're told the city needs more help handling the hundreds of calls.
Officials say adding more City leaders say this will bring down wait times -- and bump up your overall safety. Right now the estimated cost is around $200,000 a year.
Bequi Coar and her dog patrol the Eagle Point Neighborhood daily. She is the president of the Eagle Point Neighborhood Association.
"We look out for cars that don't belong in the neighborhood. We have one entrance in our neighborhood and one entrance out and when we see suspicious people we start making calls," said Bequi Coar.
Coar knows how important 911 dispatchers are. She's had to call them a few times because of car break ins in the neighborhood.
"We called the police and they came and investigated. They checked everything out and told us kids were probably responsible,"
The city's 911 center takes hundreds of calls every single day from people just like her. Dispatchers handle calls for fires as well as emergency calls and non emergency calls. They're now taking on a new job of handling the radio traffic for more sheriff deputies.
"It's a lot of work for a small group of people to do. I think the 911 director will tell you they are averaging more than 300,000 calls a year," said Commissioner Donnie Smith.
"It's important, because if you ever had to use 911 and wasn't able to get an operator you know the importance they hold," said Commissioner Corey Johnson.
Augusta commissioners approved hiring five more dispatchers. We're told more dispatchers will bring down the wait times and help those who need it most.
Coar likes the idea because she says safety should be the commissioners' top priority.
The full commission will vote on this issue on Tuesday April 28, 2014.