FOX VALLEY, Wis. (WFRV) – 911 dispatchers are the heart of public safety operations and many are hiring across Northeast Wisconsin.

Staff Sergeant Erik Nielson of the Outagamie County Sheriff’s Office said, “We are hiring for the telecommunicator position for Outagamie County. I think the biggest thing for us is we’re looking for people that want to make public safety a career.”

Communications Captain Lara Vendola-Messer of the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office said, “We’re actually sort of perpetually hiring. We keep an open application period and keep processes several times a year.”

The communications centers in Outagamie and Winnebago counties said while they are hiring they have enough people to ensure public safety but employees have to do overtime to keep them fully staffed.

“There’s no public safety concern. We’re still able to meet out minimum staffing requirements, said Nielson. “We have a couple of plans in place to roll supervisors back in to the room, I myself cover the room at times, to help relieve that overtime and prevent that burnout.”

Working as a dispatch operator can be very stressful and retaining employees is difficult.

“We find at about the two year mark our retention rate is about 40% of the people we hire still work here after two years,” said Vendola-Messer.

Anyone with a high school diploma or GED and a clean criminal record can apply to be a 911 Dispatch Operator.