DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — The new Durham mayor announced plans Wednesday for a new 911 academy to recruit and train dispatchers, in hopes of clearing up the staffing shortage they’ve dealt with for months.

Mayor Elaine O’Neal announced Wednesday the city is partnering with Durham Tech to train students to serve as 911 dispatchers. It’s an idea she came across after talking with community leaders.

“We have many ideas but that one grasped and stuck with me,” O’Neal said.



It comes as the city has been offering hiring and retention bonuses for dispatchers but the shortage still exists.

“Having a safe city requires having a functioning 911 system. It is the umbilical cord to our emergency services,” the mayor said.

The mayor and the school’s president are still talking about how the academy will work so there’s no timetable on when enrollment will begin.