Emergency meeting about Adair County dispatchers

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Updated: 10/11/2013 2:28 am Published: 10/10/2013 10:11 pm

Green Country dispatchers temporarily laid off Thursday are back on the job.

There was an emergency meeting held Thursday night to find a way to pay them.

"I'm the voice that saves people," said Adair County Dispatcher Michelle Roberts. "I'm the voice that comforts people in their time of need."

It's a voice Adair County Sheriff's deputies know very well. They have all depended on it to help someone or even for their own safety.

"I was very upset. I found out from the news that I didn't have a job," she said.

Roberts is just one of five dispatchers laid off Thursday. FOX23 learned a few weeks ago during a jail trust meeting a board member told Sheriff David Hardin he didn't think it was legal for the dispatchers pay to come from the trust fund.

"The dispatchers have always been paid by the jail trust," Hardin told FOX23's Dontaye Carter.

He said the department has done it for 12 years. Hardin said he asked the area's District Attorney Brian Kuester to look into it. Hardin said Thursday Kuester agreed it could be illegal. That is when dispatch was shut down. All calls were transferred to the Stilwell Police Department for nearly two hours.

"It's very frustrating to think where am I going to pay my bills? How am I going to pay my bills? I work for bare minimum. I make minimum wage," said Roberts. "And I do it because I love the work. I do it because I want to protect and serve."

Hardin said he called an emergency meeting with the 911 board. They voted unanimously to provide up to $8,000 for the dispatchers pay for the month of October.

"There for a while it was pretty tense. I knew something had to be done. I couldn't let this go," said Hardin.

"I can't get out there in a police car but I can do it on the phone," said Roberts.

The Adair County Sheriff's office has just over two weeks to decide what how they'll fund the dispatchers.

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