(Juneau) The Dodge County Sheriff says an upcoming schedule change will help their dispatch center improve efficiency and operate at a decreased cost. Like other departments across the country, the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office has had recent issues recruiting and retaining communications officers. Sheriff Dale Schmidt says the position is a high pressure job that is difficult to fill, especially following the retirement of three long-time employees last year. He says while they were in the process of hiring for those vacancies, the dispatch center evaluated changing their current eight-hour shift model.
Following action by the county board this week, dispatchers will be transition to 12-hour shifts starting on October 7. Right now, dispatchers work four days then are off two days which is 37-and-a-half hours a week. Once the sheriff’s office moves to 12-hour shifts the rotation will be three-days on, two-off, two-on then three-off; which is 84 hours in a two-week pay period with a couple of hours of built-in overtime.
Schmidt says the move will mean more hours that dispatchers are at the call center. He says this will also drastically help their weekly overnight shifts were only two dispatchers are scheduled. Schmidt says now three dispatchers will be available 24/7, seven days a week and – on most days – will have for dispatchers working. He notes that even with the built-in overtime, when the 12-hour shifts begin in October through the end of the year, the schedule change will save the county around $30-thousand-dollars.
Schmidt says the new schedule will allow dispatchers to have off every other weekend and he anticipates other positives such as reduced sick time based on other agencies who utilize 12-hour shifts. The rotation change was also recommended following an operational analysis of the sheriff’s office conducted last year.