Sheriff Valenza Seeks To Abolish Three 911 Dispatcher Positions To Increase Salary of DispatchersRickey Stokes
Posted by: RStokes
Date: Jan 07 2021 12:05 AM
HOUSTON COUNTY: Houston County Sheriff Department has 18 approved positions in the Houston County Sheriff 911 Center.
Houston County Sheriff Donald Valenza is expected to ask the Houston County Commission to abolish three positions and re-align the other 15 positions in a salary more competitive with the City of Dothan 911 Communications.
The 18 positions are not filled in the Sheriff 911 Center. Getting qualified applicants and retention of qualified staff has been an on going problem. Sheriff Valenza and his command staff feel the reason is pay.
The Houston County Sheriff Department is responsible for the 911 dispatching of all Houston County Sheriff Deputies, the Houston County Coroner, Dothan-Houston County Emergency Management, 17 Houston County Volunteer Fire Departments, 5 Houston County Volunteer EMS, Headland EMS on calls answered in Houston County, Pilcher Ambulance on territory assigned outside the city limits of Dothan and in Houston County, and 7 municipal police departments in Houston County.
It is an exciting job. It is the center of the emergency operations for Houston County. The 911 Communications Center have a awesome and tough responsibility, which is stressful, but exiting because you never know what is next. It is and can be rewarding with the correct management in place to make it exciting.
The current staff is extremely over worked, understaffed and underpaid. The 911 center IS THE MOST IMPORTANT LINK from the public to those responsible for responding to emergencies of all natures.
Some items have been brought to Sheriff Donald Valenza's attention by Dothan-Houston County Emergency Management Director Chris Judah that he was not aware of. Work loads of other agencies being piled onto the 911 Communications Staff that is not their responsibility.
Sheriff Valenza was really upset, when, EMA Director Judah called that to his attention this workload that is not their responsibility, and the work was over loading the 911 staff.
Houston County has utilized part time 911 staff from other agencies wanting to work. Doing so was an effort to relieve the current staff from such a tremendous work load.
Mr. Bart Blackman is the 911 Center Manager for the Sheriff. Blackman answers to Patrol Shift Commander James Ivey who answers to Sheriff Major Bill Rafferty. Ultimately all answer to Houston County Sheriff Donald Valenza, who is in turn responsible to his employers, all registered voters in 587 square miles of Houston County.
Sheriff Valenza is hopeful the additional salary making the Sheriff Department 911 Center competitive will attract qualified applicants resulting in a professional 911 Center to serve the people.
The Houston County Commission is expected to agree to move this item to the agenda and approve it on Monday.