As of this week, Leon County’s Consolidated Dispatch Agency is fully staffed. That’s just one of the changes Dee Crumpler has made in his six months as the troubled agency’s interim director.
When Dee Crumpler stepped in to head the CDA in December 2015, the agency was missing 25% of its work force. The group fields 911 calls and relays messages to first responders. Dispatchers work 12 hour shifts, and when they pick up the phone, lives could hang in the balance. It’s a stressful job at the best of times. But this agency has been plagued with software problems and slow response times. One error led to the death of first responder Deputy Chris Smith in 2014. Following years of controversy, Dee Crumpler says employee support is vital.
“Just about every morning an individual dispatcher will come up and say, ‘Hey Dee, did you hear about this call, and what happened on that call, and do you know what happened?’ Trying to get some closure. And the agencies are doing a great job of really incorporating the CDA into the operations and being sensitive to the needs of the dispatchers, because I think they’re the critical link,” he said.
Crumpler has put in place counseling and mentoring programs, to help manage stress and improve employee retention. Crumpler is still waiting for Motorola to update the agency’s software systems. If changes aren’t made by a June 20th deadline, Crumpler says they may have to drop Motorola.