Horry County Council leaders get first-hand look at shortage in 911 center

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Horry County council members took a look inside the  county’s 911 operations center Monday. The tour comes after we told you the department’s been experiencing a shortage in dispatchers.

Those council members saw a very busy dispatch center because director Renee Hardwick says they’re still very understaffed.

The county approved four more positions to be added back in July with hopes to fill those vacancies.

However, since then, Hardwick says they’ve had several people leave the department, and their new hires are still in training.

“Unfortunately, we’ve had people who come in here and then decide it’s not the job for them,” said Hardwick.

Hardwick says they’re still short nine people, and that’s why they wanted to show county leaders what they’re working with.

“It’s important because what we do is so behind the scenes. People hear us, but they don’t actually see what’s happening in the room, how many people are working one particular call. It’s not just the dispatcher. There are multiple call takers and supervisors working on things,” said Hardwick.

Councilman Al Allen says seeing the department’s work first-hand shows them how busy the  dispatchers are.

“It’s something that has to be constantly and instantly addressed because you can’t put people who call for help on hold. You can’t do it,” said Allen.

Allen says the four new positions should help when the new hires finish training, but it’s something he plans to keep looking at in the future.
“Within the upcoming county budget, we’re also going to have to look at that again and stuff because it’s a never ending process because you’ve got to have the people, you’ve got to have the trained, certified, qualified folks to be able to handle this,” said Allen.

Hardwick says they have people going through training right now to fill the vacant positions, but as of right now, they’re still understaffed

She says one of their biggest challenges right now is people leaving the department after they finish the training because of the amount of stress that comes with the job.