NEW BRUNSWICK – The city is seeking proposals from an outside agencies that could provide police dispatchers because the police department has been unable to attract and retain sufficient staff for the job, officials said.

City council members Wednesday passed a resolution seeking to seek proposals from outside agencies.

New Brunswick Business Administrator Thomas McLoughlin said the police department requested the search for the outside agency.

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Currently the city has 12 dispatchers, three less than the 15 desired to fill all shifts.  The result has been an increase in over-time, which has increased costs to the city. Loughlin said dispatchers have left because of the number of calls for police.

“The people either burn out or they moved to another department,” McLoughlin said. He dismissed a suggestion that existing salary levels contributed to the staff shortage.

Police dispatchers are paid between $42,000 and $45,000 annually, depending on their experience, according to city officials.

McLoughlin said it is uncertain if any other municipal or law enforcement agency would want to file a proposal to provide dispatchers. The city hopes to receive and review proposals with a few months.

Any agency that is hired to provide the service would be required to give current city dispatchers “special consideration” for the job, McLoughlin said.

The agency would also be required to have three dispatchers on duty for at least 18 hours each day to handle calls.

According to the New Jersey State Police Uniform Crime Report, New Brunswick handled 2,367 criminal incidents in 2017, 112 more case that in 2016. These do not include non-criminal cases, such as medical emergencies, fires and motor vehicle accidents.