By Margie Plunkett
Ocean Ridge’s dispatchers have saved the town time and money by writing post-911 dispatcher certification training — a curriculum that was just approved by the Florida Department of Health.
Dispatch coordinator Jessica Simpson and dispatcher clerk Brandi Gonsman developed the curriculum despite challenges including staff shortages, according to Police Chief Chris Yannuzzi, who during the January meeting commended them to the Town Commission for their work.
The team created the 254-hour course for the mandatory training, a move that will save $800 for every new employee, as the town doesn’t have to pay to train them elsewhere.
The in-house training saves time also for current employees, who no longer have to go out of town for the course.
As a result of Simpson’s and Gonsman’s work, “the Ocean Ridge Police Department Dispatch Center now has a state-certified 911 Public Safety Telecommunications Training Program,” Yannuzzi wrote in Ocean Ridge’s January newsletter.
“Such a proud distinction places us among less than a handful of certified training centers in Palm Beach County — all much larger agencies — and one of less than 150 such centers throughout the entire state,” the chief wrote.
“It’s another star in the crown of Ocean Ridge,” Mayor Geoffrey Pugh noted at the commission meeting.
In other town business:
• Commissioners anticipate voting during their February meeting on a $1,200 donation to the Sea Angels beach cleanup volunteer group.
“We have given a donation to the Sand Sifters (volunteer beach cleanup group), but never have given to the Sea Angels,” said Commissioner Zoanne Hennigan. “We’d like to donate $1,200.”
• The Police Department will check out the price and other details of surveillance cameras that Yannuzzi said could be placed at the bridge and at the entrances to town.
• Commissioners decided not to limit to $2,000 the amount of retirement bonus for employees.
Previously, they voted that employees will receive $100 for each year of service at retirement.