ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Between retirements and hiring requirements, the Ohio State Highway Patrol has experienced difficulties finding people to fill its dispatcher positions.
Positions for dispatchers are open in a number of locations throughout the state, including at the St. Clairsville Post. District Dispatcher Supervisor Jen Moran said dispatchers are mostly needed in rural areas of the state. She said she has been working to fill positions for the past one-and-a-half to two years in the district, which includes posts in St. Clairsville, New Philadelphia and Cambridge.
“We’ve had a lot of retirements lately and had other people take different positions so here recently we’ve had a lot of openings due to those reasons,” she said.
“We do have an extensive hiring process. We require a polygraph, background (check) and drug test, so there seems to be difficulty sometimes in passing that.”
Moran said the St. Clairsville post currently has six dispatchers with one set to retire in January. The goal is to have the post fully staffed with eight dispatchers.
Though the job can sometimes be stressful, it is a rewarding career, Moran said.
Qualifications for those interested include being at least 18 years old, having a high school diploma or GED, valid driver’s license, reading and writing proficient in the English language, one course or three months experience in typing, operating a personal computer and word processing or equivalent. Preferred qualifications are knowledge of law enforcement procedures, six months experience in public relations, and 12 months experience in operating a computer.
Those living out-of-state are now eligible to apply for the position.
Moran said they are looking for people that are “willing to put in the work.”
“At times it can be a demanding or stressful job. It is also rewarding as well,” she said, adding that dispatching is a 24-7 operation which means employees work holidays, weekends and evenings and can mean sacrificing some time with family.
“Going into it with that mindset helps.”
Moran said her favorite aspect of the job is being able to help people in need.
“It’s the rewarding feeling of being able to help. You’re talking to people on what could be their worst day ever and just providing them some help or sense of relief,” she said.
Benefits include competitive pay with a starting wage of $23.22 an hour, health insurance, tuition reimbursement, deferred compensation, Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, paid vacations, personal leave days, uniforms and drycleaning provided, and paid on-the-job training.
Lt. Maurice Waddell, commander of the St. Clairsville Post, said they brought back the Cadet Candidate program for those interested but too young to enter trooper academy. He said the program is where he got his start at the beginning of his career.
The program is for people aged 18-21 and hires them into a dispatcher position to learn different aspects of the patrol and provide experience. The program requires monthly physical training tests to get recruits ready for the academy. The starting wage is $19.41 per hour. Anyone interested can contact the post at 740-695-0915 for more information.
The St. Clairsville Post also allows potential dispatchers the opportunity to shadow the department to gain insight on what the job will entail.
Those interested in applying for a dispatcher position can do so online at statepatrol.ohio.gov/recruit.