The Pettis County Ambulance District Board of Directors approved a measure that would pay for an additional telecommunications dispatcher at the Sedalia Police Department. The board approved the expense during its regular meeting Tuesday after a request was made from the SPD last month.

SPD Chief John Degonia spoke during the PCAD meeting about the need for two more dispatchers – one paid for by the city and the other paid for by PCAD.

“In 2016 we had 120,000 more calls to our dispatchers than the year before and right now we have just enough employees to fill our shift and have one floating dispatcher,” he said. “That means when someone calls in sick or would like to take a vacation day we’re scrambling to fill that vacant position.”

Currently PCAD pays the salaries of two SPD dispatchers at a cost of approximately $80,000 per year. With the third dispatcher’s salary and benefits included that total would amount to about $120,000 per year.

PCAD Administrator Mike Gardner asked Degonia if this measure was “a quick fix or a long-term solution.”

“I know how busy (the dispatchers) are and how much stress they’re under with the volume of calls they handle,” Gardner said. “But we need to know if this will be a permanent solution.”

Degonia assured the board this “should solve the issues we’re having.”

The board unanimously approved the measure. Degonia said the new dispatchers would likely be hired once the city begins its new fiscal year on April 1.

Randy Kirby