MOUNT VERNON — The Knox County 9-1-1 Board is in the process of creating a new lead dispatcher position for the county 9-1-1 system. The position would give new leadership duties to one of the dispatchers on each shift at both the county and city 9-1-1 dispatch centers.
The new lead dispatchers would have added responsibilities on top of their dispatch job duties, including the guidance, instruction and training of other dispatchers.
The lead dispatchers would also be responsible for monitoring the work of their co-workers and assisting the director with policy changes.
9-1-1 Coordinator Brian Hess said he would like to begin interviewing current, non-probationary dispatchers for the positions as soon as possible. According to Hess, the lead dispatchers would provide a point of accountability currently lacking.
“It would give me a point of contact on issues, a stop point on petty issues so they don’t compound, and increase the professional environment,” Hess explained.
Mount Vernon Police Chief Mike Merrilees asked Hess if he visualized the position as a supervisory one, because of the additional leadership role. Hess said he was not opposed to making the lead dispatcher part of the supervisory chain of command.
The dispatchers at the county dispatch center are supervised by Knox County Sheriff David Barber, or his designee on each shift. At the city dispatch center, Merrilees is the onsite supervisor, with the supervisor’s duties delegated to Capt. George Hartz or another officer if Merrilees is not present.
Hess as 9-1-1 coordinator ultimately oversees the dispatchers at both centers.
A special meeting will be called within the next month for board members to finalize the details of the new position prior to union contract negotiations, which will begin this fall. Board members asked Hess to invite to the meeting the legal representative who helped prepare the proposed job description that was reviewed by board members Wednesday.
Hess said that now that the board had approved the need for the position, the details of the job could effectively be worked out by board members at the upcoming special meeting.