More Staff May Be Needed Next Independence Day at Central Dispatch

Published 07/05 2013 05:09PM

Updated 07/05 2013 06:52PM

Evansville Vanderburgh County Dispatch received nearly one thousand 911 calls in just a seven-hour window late Thursday night and early Friday morning. The sheer call volume has Central Dispatch officials thinking some changes might be necessary next year.

Imagine answering the phone to take an emergency call once every 25 seconds for seven hours. Now you know what dispatchers had to deal with Thursday night and Friday morning in Vanderburgh County. 

"The increase of calls from seven o'clock last night to two o'clock this morning, we had about 990," said Central Dispatch Director Rodney Buchanan. "It looked like about 10 percent of those were fireworks related."

"You get done with that call and then, boom, you've got another one coming in."

Buchanan says there were six dispatchers and a supervisor working the night of July 4th. After nearly a thousand calls in just seven hours, Buchanan says more help might be needed.

"I received a couple inter-departmental emails that next year we might want to give someone overtime to come in and work that time period as an additional call taker," Buchanan said. "That will be something we'll look at next year."

Dispatchers can often be nameless and faceless and the position itself can often be thankless. But for Buchanan, they're not, especially after Thursday night.   

"It's one of the top most stressful jobs in the country," Buchanan said. "I give them accolades."

Owensboro also had 27 calls for fireworks complaints.

Evansville Police made made at least nine arrests for disorderly conduct in the Downtown area. Two law enforcement officers were also allegedly assaulted last night near the riverfront.

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