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Taylor County Sheriff's Office expands dispatch center

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ABILENE, Texas - Taylor County dispatchers have been worked thin over recent months.

After increasing the budget to hire more dispatchers, one quarter of the staff has left in the past month.

There are currently eight dispatchers on the job right now, but 13 are needed. Though they just hired three, Taylor County Sheriff Ricky Bishop said they're waiting to fill the rest of the positions until they make some changes within the building.

"Just being in there is stressful enough and you know the phone calls that they get are not only 911 calls," said Bishop.

They also respond to non-emergency calls and dispatch fire, EMS, and other law enforcement agencies around the county. Dispatchers handle between 100 and 140 calls a day.

"We are hard pressed to get three dispatchers on duty at all times. We really need four," said Bishop.

Since the current communication center only sits three at a time, an expansion is in the works.

An old file room, over twice the size of the current one, is being refurbished to accommodate five dispatching work spaces.

The files that have been displaced have been moved to a back, unfinished room of the building, alongside officers who have also been relocated to find space.

"We just recently had to do away with our current classroom we have here and move our patrol division into there," said Bishop.

The Taylor County Sheriff's Office has been struggling with space issues for years, but Bishop remains positive.

"We adapt to what we need to and it's just in the future we're going to have to have something that's going to meet our needs for the next 40 or 50 years that we don't have to worry about," said Bishop.

Bishop said the sheriff's office is budgeted for 15, but they need at least 18. He also said he plans to propose the necessary budget increase during next year's budget cycle.

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