BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) -- When you call 911 for an emergency in Brown County someone is always there to assist you right away, but now that agency is looking for your help when it comes to recruitment.
Brown County Public Safety Communications is looking for 911 telecommunicators. A post on Facebook said it is actively hiring dispatchers with a starting wage of $19.25 an hour with county benefits.
Brown County 911 telecommunicator Billijo Baneck has been doing this for 11 years and said every day is different, but one thing that doesn’t change is her passion to help people.
“You never deal with same things twice,” said Baneck. “You tell me your situation and I am going to send you the best response for you… It’s a passion for the job and a passion for what you are doing.”
That passion is shared by all 64 dispatchers with Brown County, and they are looking for more to join their team.
“We’re always looking for qualified dispatchers. We’ve had recruitment open for the past two-and-a-half years,” said Cullen Peltier, Brown County’s director of Public Safety Communications.
Peltier said they are constantly posting on Facebook, recruiting, training and interviewing potential dispatcher hoping to beef up their shrinking eligibility list.
“We do the whole process of hiring someone and then they are placed on eligibility list and that way we are able to hire people quickly,” said Peltier. “So we do background checks and sit-ins with our staff so they are ready to give employer two-week notice and then we can get them on board as quickly as possible,” said Peltier.
Peltier said the quicker the better because training can last up to 15 weeks.
“The challenge is we are not always fully staffed and fully trained, that’s a rarity,” said Peltier. “If you are not fully staffed, things start compounding, people work overtime and you put more stress on them and lose people that way.”
The national turnover rate for 911 telecomunicators is about 18-20 percent. Peltier said their turnover rate is about 12 percent, but that still means they are losing about 7 people a year.
Peltier said dispatchers work 10 or 12 hour shifts, which includes holidays and weekends. Although that alone can make it difficult for recruitment, Peltier said they try to maintain a work-life balance for employees.
“We do try to have that work-life balance so people can enjoy time with their family and decompress. With our schedule they work every other month on weekends and have some time off during the week,” said Peltier. “There isn’t the perfect schedule, but we do our best to make it accommodating.”
Baneck said they even have time to decompress at work, which includes a peer support team and counseling services.
“Most of the time if you do take a bad call and you need to take a walk, we have that option. You are not stuck in a chair to deal with it forever,” said Baneck. “There are healthy outlets for what we do, but you have to have passion for it to work through some of those struggles.”
Baneck said there will be tough days, but if you have a passion for helping people this may be the career for you.
“There are some people in the room who have a college degree, a master’s degree and some have a high school degree. We train you for what you need to know,” said Baneck. “It takes all kinds.”
If you would like to apply for a 911 telecommunicator position, click here.