It’s a job that we all know, but a job many can’t fathom doing: 911 dispatch. Being the go-between for a person in an emergency and the emergency responders needed. In Gallatin County, there has been a steady increase in call volume.
“You don’t see us. You call, you don’t see us, you hear us,” dispatch trainee Nicole Buescher said. “If I can be that positive voice, that friendly voice through the phone that gives me a lot of gratitude.”
In 2018, around 128,000 calls came into dispatch. Now, around four years later, 180,000 calls—a 20% increase.
“Really without the 911 staff there’s no response,” Gallatin County 911 Director Tim Martindale said.
Martindale notes that other 911 call centers around the nation are experiencing a shortage in workers, but he considers Gallatin County experiencing a double whammy.
“Not only are we seeing the staffing shortage, but we are also being hit with the housing market,” Martindale said.
Currently there are 11 dispatchers on the team, with a budget for 25. Those dispatchers work 12-hour shifts and clock overtime hours to cover the bases, Martindale said.
There are four people training to become dispatchers, including Buescher. She said there were many reasons she wanted to pursue a career in dispatch, one of which is to serve her community.
“I love being able to go home at the end of the day feeling that I made an impact on somebody’s life,” Buescher said.
If you or someone you know is interested in joining the 911 Dispatch Team, head over to the Gallatin County website to learn more, ask questions, and to apply.