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Sheriff’s office seeks citizens willing to be dispatchers

By Reed Anfinson

While many businesses in rural Minnesota are struggling to find workers to fill positions, there is one job that is crucial to the safety and health of area residents that is going unfilled – that of a dispatcher.

At the Swift County Sheriff’s Office, a dispatcher plays a pivotal role in communicating between citizens in need, law enforcement, fire departments, and emergency medical services.

“In a perfect world,” Swift County John Holtz says his office would have six full time dispatchers and four full time jailers. Fully staffed, the LEC would be able to house up to nine inmates rather than five. Currently, the sheriff’s office must pay other counties to house its excess prisoners.

It’s not a perfect world in the current labor in western Minnesota with extremely low unemployment making it difficult to find personnel. The sheriff’s office is half-staffed with three full time dispatchers with one of them a trainee and two full time jailers.

“We have been trying to hire to be fully staffed for the past two-and-a-half years,” Holtz said. “It is difficult.”

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