Emergency dispatchers are the first line of defense in an emergency. However, as the younger generations are losing interest in getting a career in dispatch centers, staff shortages are becoming more and more common in various states.
One such county is Richland. Located on the lower floors of Wahpeton’s law enforcement center is one of the most important rooms in the city, Richland County’s beloved dispatch center. Though short staffed, this dispatch center is still able to work smoothly.
“I love it; it’s not the same old same old. You learn something new every day,” said dispatch trainee Nisha Diaz. “I wanted a job where I could help people,” she added.
As of today, the Richland County dispatch center is manned by only ten employees. They rotate duties to keep the facility functioning 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The center’s communications manager, Jill Breuer has been complaining that ten persons are just not enough. “It gets busy, It gets stressful,” said Breuer. “I’ve had to come out of my office, and get back on the council because that’s how short staffed we are,” he added.
Breuer told reporters that the Richland County dispatch center has been under staffed as early as 2015. He said the center once lost four employees simultaneously making things worse. Since then, he has been actively searching for willing recruits. “We don’t want people to get burnt out,” Breuer said.
Though new employees are incredibly needed by the center, getting accepted is still no walk in the park. “You need to pass a background check, because of the sensitive information we handle, pass a drug test, and pass a hearing test. So there are several hoops. Plus a test, you need to get at least a 75% on,” Breuer said.
“Cause it’s a big responsibility, especially if one of us steps out and they get a 911 call,” Breuer said. Breuer has used all means possible to get the word out that the center needs applicants. He has been posting ads on several platforms such as Facebook, job fairs, and billboards.
There are many careers available in emergency dispatch centers. The job may be exhausting; however, it is immensely fulfilling knowing that helped save lives. Also, the pay isn’t that bad.