Hiring process starts for 30 part-time emergency call takers

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The applicants WREG talked to who showed up to put their names in the hat were not experienced, but said they are eager and willing to learn.

"It's always better to know you can help somebody else, because that's pretty much what 911 is, a call for help," applicant Richanna Mask said.

The Memphis Police Department started taking applications Monday for 30 part-time emergency call takers, not 911 dispatchers.

"A full dispatcher will do call taking and dispatching. When I say dispatching, I mean talk to the officers as well over the radio system. The part-time call takers that we're hiring will only be talking to the public," Marvin Pender, MPD Communications Manager, explained.

The information they take down will then be sent automatically to dispatchers.

Applicants must be able to pass a typing test.

MPD will then put those who are chosen through weeks of testing.

"Five weeks of class training. Five weeks of on the job training as well. Then on the job training, they'll have a chance to get in and sit beside an experienced dispatcher," Pender said.

MPD hopes this will help Memphis meet national standards for answering 911 calls, which requires 95 percent of calls to be answered in 20 seconds or less.

Qualifying applicants can pick up appointment cards to schedule the required typing and call taker tests through Friday from 8 a.m. till 4:30 p.m. on the 12th floor of 201 Poplar or at the Memphis Police Training Academy at 4371 O.K. Robertson Road.

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