Jefferson County 911 Administrative Board members unanimously voted Wednesday afternoon to hire Madison native Marla Hankins as the county’s new 911 executive director.

Hankins was chosen from 15 applicants who applied for the job, board member and Commissioner Bobby Little said. A committee of local officials narrowed the candidate list to seven, but one applicant dropped out. 

The board interviewed six people before cutting the group to the three, who were then interviewed for the second time.

The board unanimously recommended Hankins, and she accepted during Wednesday’s meeting.

“I had no idea we’d get 15 (applicants),” Jefferson County Council board member representative Judy Smith said, noting the decision was a “very hard choice.”

Hankins introduced herself to other officials at the Wednesday meeting. The new 911 executive director said she has worked with the Indiana State Police for the last decade, first as a regional dispatcher at the Versailles post before moving to Indiana Data and Communications System – or IDACS – administration in Indianapolis for the last two years.

With her work with IDACS, Hankins said she was in charge of 24 counties where she maintained the IDACS database and supervised law enforcement agencies to make sure they were adhering to policies and keeping records.

“I consider it a great honor and privilege to serve the public, the emergency personnel here, as well as our neighboring communities,” she said.

As 911 director, Hankins will be responsible for developing and administering emergency response procedures in the county’s central dispatch center, as well as other emergency procedures as directed by the county’s 911 administrative board.

The position description also noted the board was searching for applicants who were familiar with IDACS/NCIC or could complete the training and previous dispatch experience was preferred.

Hankins replaces former county 911 executive director John Hendrix, who was terminated last November after board members cited a “tremendous amount of issues” and “lots and lots of complaints” that the board could no longer ignore.

Prior to the vote, Mayor Damon Welch – who also serves as a board member on the five-person 911 board – thanked shift supervisors, dispatchers and the 911 administrative assistant for working together while the board searched for a new executive director.

Hankins will begin work on March 2.