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INDIANAPOLIS— Low pay to Marion County dispatchers is affecting response times to those who call with an emergency. 

The pay rate has presented a problem, according to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, in attracting new employees. The dispatch center has several open positions; however, there does not appear to be any takers, which has left Marion County’s 911 service short-handed.

The shortage has resulted in callers dealing with longer hold times when they dial 911. 

If you place a call to 911, your call will be answered in the order received by the operator. If you’re caller No. 3, you will have two callers in front of you.

Just last week, a man knocked on a married couple’s door asking for help. The man had been shot multiple times. The couple called 911, and they said it took a long time for their call to get through to an operator. That man was eventually taken to a hospital and did survive. 

Marion County Sheriff’s Office presented a 2018 budget to address the the dispatchers’ salary, which is about $31,000. No increases to that salary were made. 

“It sounds like we need to pay our people more because that is a vital position in our society,” city resident Cameron Chandler said. “How can we keep our society safe if we can’t answer emergency responses?”