SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) — The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office is down the number of dispatchers it needs in order to be fully staffed, and it says it needs help from the public.

The sheriff’s office is down more than 10 dispatching positions, and it needs to fill them right away. According to the sheriff’s office, part of the problem is the lengthy hiring process of testing and the background check process.

“Some of the public does have a negative connotation about police work, in general. But really to look at the other side of this, and that is, you are helping your community. You are literally talking to somebody on their worst day,” Lt. Rod Grassmann said. 

“Every big news story that you have seen, here on FOX40, anywhere else in this community, started with a call from 911,” Grassmann said.

When someone calls for a deputy or dials 911, those calls are received at the communication center of the sheriff’s office. Last year, they received more than 800,000 calls.

“Something I wanted to do out of high school. I knew I wanted to do something in public safety. And I really enjoyed listening to those scanners. So I thought dispatching would be something I wanted to do,” Michael Jones, sheriff’s 911 call dispatcher, said.

“It’s kinda like the best movie you’ve ever seen. It’s filled with every emotion you can think of. Like the best movies are the ones that make you laugh, the ones that make you cry, the ones that make you feel all the emotions,” Nicole Erisman, sheriff’s communication dispatcher, said. “And that’s what this job is. You’re never going to have a dull moment in this job.” 

“I couldn’t see doing anything else. And it is a calling. It’s not the job for everybody. But it’s fun and it’s exciting,” Gina Simonsma, dispatcher training coordinator, said. 

Before becoming a dispatcher, Michael worked in the media. Nicole was an EMT. And Gina, who is the dispatching training coordinator, worked as a waitress.

“It is not too late. This is a great second career,” Grassmann said.

And they’re helping make a difference.

For more information on becoming a dispatcher, visit

“Get the people there that are gonna help save your life. And while you may not always know the outcome, you know you did your part to help them on their worst day,” Jones said.