JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) - Jackson's 911 operators are not only dealing with the high stress of emergency calls, but an infestation of bed bugs.
The insects are in two dispatch locations and the city is trying to track down the source.
"Our 911 operators shouldn't have to work in this type of environment," said Mississippi Alliance of State Employees President Brenda Scott.
Jackson city officials confirm that bedbugs have infested the temporary 911 center located at the EOC basement on State Street and the 911 center on Tombigbee Street, which is under renovation.
Pictures of the insects were taken by a city employee inside in the Tombigbee Street location.
"They're severely understaffed, and they're leaving everyday," said Scott.
The public workers representative told the Jackson City Council about the infestation Tuesday.
Employees said have been bitten over the course of about six weeks, leaving rashes and even blisters over their bodies.
"If someone is bringing them in, that's just the way they operate, then they've got to get to the bottom of it and how they do that, I just want to raise that issue," added Scott.
City administrators told Jackson city leaders that the infestation started at the 911 building.
Jackson Police Chief Lee Vance said exterminators have repeatedly sprayed both locations, but the problem persists.
"Terminex, they've offered to go to the house of each individual that works in the dispatch center for a free inspection to see if we can identify the source," said Vance.
According to the Jackson city web site, there are approximately 74 dispatchers who answer more than 6,000 calls a week.
"We fully intend on getting the situation to where our employees don't have to endure this when they come to work," added Vance. "They've got enough stress going on over there".
Some workers have refused to return to work until the bed bugs have been eradicated.