DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) -- Retirements, promotions, and career changes have left some Dothan City Departments short-staffed and looking for qualified workers.
One of them is the Dothan Police Department.
They are looking to hire a few more people willing to help you in your scariest moments.
To start the process applicants need to be at least 19-years-old and have a high school diploma.
The six newest public safety call takers tell me it takes a lot more than that to make the cut
“We're the first first responders. We're the first people that you talk to when you're having the worst day of your life and we're responsible for getting you the help that you need,” says public safety call taker Macey Starling.
Before ever picking up an emergency call alone there were weeks of training to earn certifications.
“Learning geography has been tough. Even though I’m from Dothan. I've lived here for 26 years and there are still streets that I’ve never been on…. I’ve never heard of,” says Starling.
They also had to learn police and firefighter coded.
“That's probably one of the most hardest things to learn is how to speak to our police officers and our firefighters. What language are they speaking to us and how we can translate that information to be able to get help to the community as fast and as easily as we can,” says public safety call taker Denise Sin.
While new to the field, these beginners know what it takes to be the voice behind the badge.
“It's a lot harder than I thought it would be. You really have to be able to multitask,” says Johnny Powell.
“If something comes in you have to make sure you can prioritize it correctly and get everybody out where they need to be to help the community out,” says Sin.
“I think temperament is big because you're handling distressful calls,” says Melanie Cook.
It is high stress and sometimes chaotic.
“They're calling you for help. You've got to be able to put your emotions aside to do your job for them,” says Raea Parker.
The most important part just can't be taught.
“Anybody can come in here and answer a telephone. Anyone can get a 911 call and give them scripted instructions but to be passionate and love this job it's going to take them further than anything,” says Amy Elliot the Dothan Police assistant communications manager.
If you are interested in a position you must be willing to work flexible hours, pass a polygraph exam, and type at least 40 words a minute.
The public call taker job is a full-time position with benefits.