City soliciting applicants for 911 vacancies

Photo by Tina Stein

Photo by Tina Stein

ALBANY, Ga. -- At a time when jobs are scarce, city of Albany officials announced that they are soliciting applicants for eight vacancies on the E911 operational staff, Fire Chief James Carswell said.

The vacancies are a mix of existing openings and terminations following an internal investigation into allegations some operators were running illegal background checks on civilians.

"We are looking for long-term employees that have sound judgement and decision-making abilities," Carswell said.

The starting annual pay for the positions is $27,000 for untrained applicants, Carswell said, and full-time postions include 12-hour shifts with two days off and two days on. There are also options of working day shifts or night shifts.

"Our operators tend to work 15 days a month in 12-hour shifts," Dougherty County Deputy EMA Director Jim Vaught said.

All E911 operators have pension plans and health benefits from the city and make approxiamatly $13.08 per hour.

"It is quite an investment the city makes in these people, who are put to the same standards as law enforcement officials," said Carswell.

The position requires employees who are able to perform a core set of functions, including the ability to handle stress and to multitask.

"The 911 center handles between 16,000 to 20,000 calls a month, so that shows you how busy they can get," said Carswell. "We dispatch for the Albany Police Department, Albany Fire Department, Dougherty County Police and EMS."

EMA officials expressed the importance of applicants' ability to handle stressful situations as part of the job duties of an E911 operator.

"A lot of people don't realize what it is really like until they get in there," said Carswell. "If you can't deal with (stress), then it starts affecting everyone else around you."

Some of the basic qualifications EMA officials said they were looking for in applicants are:

- Oral communication skills

- Reading comprehension

- High stress tolerance

- Ability to multitask

- Team player

- Clean background check

The last time the department sought applications, it was to fill one position at 911. Carswell said the city received 54 applications but ended up offering a job to just one qualified applicant after the rest were disqualified due to problems discovered in background checks and a lack of basic skills.

EMA officials said they would like to see a large number of applications for the eight full-time and two part-time postions.

"We want to make sure we have the best-qualified people for the job," said Carswell.

All E911 operators are subject to rigorous background checks and screenings and will have to undergo three weeks of specialized training, including becoming certified through the Peace Officers Standards and Training Council and CPR certification.

Applications for employment may be obtained and filed online at www.albany.ga.us or at 222 Pine Ave., Suite 360.