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Issues, possible solutions discussed for Amherst County Public Safety Department

Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 5:14 PM EDT
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AMHERST COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - Just like many departments, Amherst County Public Safety is facing difficulties.

“We’re a small locality with limited resources but we have the same challenges any department does,” said Sam Bryant, public safety director.

There are challenges with open positions, pay and time off. Right now they still have multiple EMT positions open.

“Community colleges making hundreds of EMTs per year, not thousands, nationwide, so we’re all competing for the same people and we’re working really hard on retention and recruitment,” said Bryant.

In a Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday, County Administrator Dean Rodgers said they’re looking at how they schedule shifts to help attract talent.

“I would like us ultimately, if we can, to get to 24/72 shifts. 24 [hours] on, 72 off. We’ll have to see how we can do that. It might take some extra people but that would then make this locality the premier locality in the EMT world,” said Rodgers. Currently the structure is 24 hours on, 48 hours off.

Additionally, they want to do more to recruit and retain 911 dispatchers.

Right now an entry level salary sits at about $30,000. That’s a number public safety director Sam Bryant says needs to be addressed.

“That’s at least $2,000 to $5,000 behind other localities and our HR department and finance are working on a presentation to give to our board of supervisors in August on that information,” said Bryant.

For now, they’ll continue to deliver service to residents as they explore these options.

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