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Report: Hundreds of Oakland dispatcher applications unprocessed

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Flickr / Creative Commons

Oakland’s Human Resources Department failed to process about 1,000 applications for its 9-1-1 emergency dispatcher job – some of them duplicates – according to an audit completed during the transition from the administration of former Mayor Libby Schaff to current Mayor Sheng Thao.Oaklandside reports that some of the problem was the responsibility of some Human Resources employees, who left the city without processing the applications from April 2022 to April of this year.

The report drew criticism from several City Council members, who decried the alleged lack of transparency and urgency to the issue.

The department has since enacted several changes to its continuous hiring system to prevent a recurrence of the backlog in applications.

Oakland’s beleaguered 9-1-1 emergency response system has long been the recipient of criticism from city residents, who have complained about response times. A recent grand jury report substantiated many of those claims. And the state threatened to withhold funding to the Oakland Police Department, if it did not remedy the problem of response times.

OPD Deputy Director Kiona Suttle said that the department has been making progress, as far as staffing is concerned. This week, Suttle said that 76 of 9-1-1’s 100 dispatcher positions are currently filled. Six more dispatchers are scheduled to begin work later this month and 11 more are in training.

Sunni M. Khalid is a veteran of more than 40 years in journalism, having worked has in print, radio, television, and web journalism.