ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – The St. Louis County Police Department is looking to fill about a dozen openings in their upcoming dispatch academy that starts at the end of October.

“I still feel the need to help people out,” said Louis Porzelt.

Porzelt recently retired from law enforcement after more than two decades, but he wasn’t ready to stop serving the community. He’s one of the newest public safety dispatchers for the county.

“There is not enough personnel here in order to provide service to St. Louis County and I wanted to be able to fulfill that position,” Porzelt said. “I’m still active, and I think I’m still pretty young, and I still want to be able to serve the people of St. Louis County.”

During a recent west St. Louis County neighborhood safety meeting, multiple police chiefs spoke to the public about the recruitment of officers and dispatchers. During the meeting, Councilman Mark Harder explained different ways the county is offering incentives to get people interested.

“One of the incentives we have is a lateral transfer program. So, if you have previous experience in call center, you can bring that with you, and they’ll place you into the pay matrix based on your years of service and experience elsewhere,” said Brian Battles, communications administrative specialist.

He said they need to hire about a dozen more people to be fully staffed. Battles said they’ll make sure new hires are ready before answering calls.

“It’s a seven-week program. Once they graduate, they go to floor training, and they’ll do that for about 12 to 16 weeks, give or take. Once they complete that training, they will be on their own in that position, being observed for another 12 to 16 weeks just to make sure they can master the position,” said Battles.

He said they’re answering around 2,200 calls daily. The hope is that a new dispatch system will help decrease response times.

“It will allow us to access a caller’s location more effectively, it will allow officers to access information more quickly. So that will include things like floor plans and business floor plans for schools or businesses. It will also allow us to work seamlessly with other departments on the system,” said Matt Spezia, CADS Specialist.

He said new dispatchers will start training on the system next month.

The deadline to get your application in for the next academy is next week. Porzelt said it’s a rewarding job.

“What it takes is good communication skills,” he said. “Listening, being able to type, obviously. This is a great opportunity for you to fulfill that need for people in their desire for help.”