As MPD faces staffing crisis, county is in desperate need of more 911 dispatchers
WAILUKU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Maui Police Department is facing a staffing crisis with a vacancy rate of approximately 25%. However, one section in particular is desperately short staffed: 911 dispatchers.
“I love it. It’s a great job,” said Johnel Davila, who has been a dispatcher for six years.
The section answers phone calls for police, fire and medics for Maui, Molokai and Lanai. They are currently operating at less than half the dispatchers they need.
“Challenging for sure,” said Kerry Donohue, who has been with the section for about one year.
Lyndsey Kahuhu, who has been with the section for eight years, said dispatchers are the first line of defense — that first call for help in an emergency.
“Dispatchers are truly the first responders,” Kahuhu said. “I love it. I love what I do.”
Maui County Emergency Services Dispatchers are facing an emergency of their own. They need to fill 25 positions and are only staffed at 48%.
Dispatchers are constantly working at high-speed to save people’s lives.
“Taking phone calls, you never know what you’re going to pick up. It’s going to be different every time,” Donohue said.
“Domestic violence and suicide calls is what keeps me going,” said Kahuhu.
These first responders say applicants are needed now more than ever for what they consider is the most rewarding career.
“It’s an amazing feeling when at the end of the call they’re like, ‘Oh my gosh thank you’ and you calm them down,” said Davila.
“I wake up every day knowing that I can help somebody when I come to work,” said Kahuhu.
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