SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Calls for emergency services are on the rise in Sioux Falls as the population of South Dakota’s largest city continues to grow.

The agency that fields 911 calls hopes some recent changes will enable it to keep up with its increasing burden, the Argus Leader reported.

Metro Communications Director Paul Niedringhaus said his agency will add two “power shifts” to its staff schedule starting in January to ensure enough dispatchers are available during portions of the day when call volumes peak.

Two additional shifts will be staggered into the schedule, giving the call center extra staff to take calls between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 a.m.

“We’ll have additional staff overlap during some of these peak hours that hopefully will alleviate some of the pressure on our staff,” Niedringhaus said.

Niedringhaus said the schedule changes are possible because the Metro Management Council approved an additional employee in the 2018 budget.

The two power shifts could make the position enticing for those considering the job because it adds flexibility to the shift availability, Jessica Mundahl, deputy director of Metro Communications.

“It’s more options for people to choose from,” Mundahl said. “Some people might not want to get up at 6 a.m. to start their shift. Or it might take somebody who is usually working an afternoon shift and they don’t get to be home with their family and now they can see them.”

Metro Communications provides dispatching services for Sioux Falls and Minnehaha County, including three law enforcement agencies, five ambulance services and more than 10 fire departments.

Information from: Argus Leader,

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