Nevada County Grand Jury finds stressful working conditions for emergency dispatchers |

Nevada County Grand Jury finds stressful working conditions for emergency dispatchers

The Nevada County Grand Jury released a report Tuesday that noted crowded, inadequate conditions and severe understaffing affecting the county’s emergency dispatchers.

According to the report, the grand jury was visiting Wayne Brown Correctional Facility in October and noted conditions at the dispatch center that warranted a report. Dispatchers provides 24-7 dispatch services for all Nevada County law enforcement agencies including the Sheriff’s Office and the Truckee, Nevada City and Grass Valley police departments, working out of an office and a window-less dispatch room that is just over 500 square feet.

There is no restroom or break room, the report noted, adding, “The Dispatch Center is crowded and uninviting. … There has been discussion about relocating the Dispatch Center but to date, no decision has been made.” The report recommended relocating the dispatchers to a more adequate facility.

According to the grand jury report, there are currently seven dispatchers and five vacancies, with staff having to work five 12-hour shifts with mandatory overtime.

“Due to the long shifts and the lack of facilities at the Dispatch Center, personnel bring their meals and eat at their station,” the report reads.

The recruiting process is challenging and lengthy, according to the report. After applicants are screened, they must pass the statewide Police Officer Standards and Training test, with only about 50 percent succeeding. Candidates are interviewed and the top choices undergo a background check. If they pass that, they must then pass a medical and psychological exam. After all those hurdles, new hires go through a six- to nine-month training with a dropout rate as high as 60 percent, the report stated.

The grand jury has requested responses both from the Sheriff’s Office and Human Resources on the two issues found.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at

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