Boone County will hire six new Public Safety Joint Communications employees thanks to the passage of a sales tax earlier this year.
The county commission unanimously approved the hires Thursday. Five positions will be for emergency dispatchers, who answer 911 calls and dispatch emergency crews. According to the county, the new hires will bring the total of 24/7 call-takers to six.
The sixth position will be a training and quality assurance coordinator. That employee will be responsible for training 911 personnel and assuring quality standards are met.
The employees' salaries come from an April sales tax that will also be used to expand 911 and Emergency Management operations in Boone County.
Columbia and Boone County are in the process of transitioning the control of emergency operations from the city to the county.
"Adding additional call-takers has been a priority of the county and is a crucial first step in expanding current operations as promised by the passage of the sales tax," said Boone County Presiding Commissioner Dan Atwill in a statement. "These positions have been needed for a very long time and will improve 911 service for every citizen in Boone County. I look forward to being able to hire even more staff when we have increased space and improved technology at the new facility."
The new 911 call center and Emergency Management facility, to replace the current downtown center, is expected to open by the end of 2015.