After a concerning staffing shortage two years ago, the Tucson Public Safety Communications Department‘s largest center now has more people answering the call.

PSCD Director Sharon McDonough says Tucson’s largest 911 call center, on S. Park Avenue near E. Ajo Way, had 112 people working in 2021.

That number has now climbed to about 154the center’s highest staffing level everbut still about 30 members short of ideal, McDonough says.

The progess is, in part, the product of dedicated 911 call takers like Cindy Stein.

Ive delivered babies, Ive done CPR, Heimlich maneuvers,” she said. “I know theres times, its even one call during the day that will make a difference.

After working for PSCD for more than 20 years, she retired, only to come back to the job as a temp.

I still work 40-plus hours a week,” she told KGUN.

Stein also admits she’s felt the impact of staffing crunches several times.

Theres times Ive come in in the morning and found out theyre gonna be very short in the evening and come back and work another 6 or 8 hours,” she said. “I know what its like to sit short-staffed. And its not fun. So I come in and help where I can.

McDonough says the staffing improvement is also because the center is more organized and more accommodating for employees.

Weve had 14 employees return over the past year, citing reasons like, I heard it was a nicer place to work,'” she told KGUN. “Part of it was, we fixed our attitude. And our culture. And we really started taking good care of our people. I firmly believe if you take good care of your people, they take good care of the people they serve.

“We have more of a team atmosphere here. Weve adjusted peoples schedules to make peoples lives a little more livable.

People like Stein make that possible by shouldering some of the workload.

People I work with, we all have the same mindset, the same philosophy that were all here for the same reason,” she said. “Its what kept me coming back. Were all here for the public.

They care about the community,” McDonough added. “They want to support it. They want 9-1-1 to work. You never know when the day comes that its you thats dialing 9-1-1 and hoping that the whole system works the right way so you get the help you need.



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