911 call center searching for new employees to fill open positio - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

911 call center searching for new employees to fill open positions

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YAKIMA, WA.- At the scene of a crime, an accident, or even a fire you'll find first responders, but often times the "unsung heroes", our local 911 call takers, are the first to alert our local law enforcement.

The staff at the 911 call center in Union Gap fields all calls through out Yakima County.  


That's roughly a 4,300 mile radius that rests on the shoulders of 32 employees.

"I've been a volunteer firefighter for the past six years so I was always on the other end of the radio," 911 call taker, Cameron Haubrich said, "I never really understood what this job all entails and how stressful it really is."


At the moment the call center isn't even fully staffed they currently have 3 positions unfilled, which plays a pivotal role in the amount of work left for their other employees.


Not to mention the amount of calls that do come in aren't always legitimate. Around 25 percent of the calls they receive are pocket dials, hang ups, or prank calls.  

"I believe the number is around 44,000 abandoned calls each year," Director Brad Coughenour said, "So if you double that, it's 88,000 abandoned calls we're taking, because each call we receive a call we have to call them back."


Those abandoned calls make for added work for a regularly staffed call center, but it adds even more stress with the unfilled positions.  

"There is something I've heard, and I'm not sure how true it is, but I've heard only about 3 percent of the population can do this job and after being here 6 months I can see why that is," Haubrich said.


However even with the short staffing they're able to make it work. they have a little help from one of their newest employees, a dog named Smiley.


Smiley is a registered stress and relief dog; he just joined the team six months ago. Staff we spoke with tell us he's a wonderful teammate and takes some stress away from the job.

"It's pretty cool to walk in the door for you late shift or morning shift and be greeted at the door with his tail wagging and literally a smile on his face," Haubrich said.

The call center is currently searching for new employees to fill their open positions. If you'd like to look into their current job openings you can contact the call center.