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Lawmakers to vote to eliminate residency requirements for 911 dispatchers

911 dispatchers
Posted at 11:09 PM, Mar 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-20 23:09:39-04

INDIANAPOLIS – A bill that would get rid of the requirement for 911 operators to live in the community in which they work is one step closer to become law.

As WRTV has reported, 911 call centers have been having increased wait times due to a lack of staff.

Senate Bill 43 would ban public safety agencies from establishing a residency requirement for 911 dispatchers.

In 2020, the Indiana general assembly designated 911 operators as first responders in Indiana code.

Because of that designation, some agencies require that 911 operators live in the community in which they serve.

According to the former 911 director for Marion County Michael Hubbs, there are 1.2 million calls a year made to the Marion County dispatch center. Some of those callers have recently experienced longer wait times because there aren't enough dispatchers to answer them. Hubbs now works for Hamilton County.

Hubbs now works for Hamilton County.

“Recruitment has always been a big issue in Marion County and Indianapolis and we have to have people in those seats to do the jobs so it's a tough thing,” Hubbs said. “I am confident if this bill passes it will help those folks that run 911 centers to recruit and do their best to answer the on slot of calls."

This bill passed out of the senate and out of a house committee Monday and no one spoke against it. It's now waiting on a full vote from the house. If it passes the house without any changes, it heads to the Governor’s desk.