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National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week: Honoring Sheboygan's 911 dispatchers

Sheboygan County 911 Dispatchers
Posted at 6:27 PM, Apr 19, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-19 19:27:07-04

This week is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. It's a time to honor the men and women who are there for us when we need them most.

In Sheboygan County, when you pick up the phone to call 911, you'll get dispatch supervisor Samantha Sejut or communications officer Michael Brungraber on the line. Their job can be stressful at times but they are dedicated to helping others.

The job is not for the faint of heart, and every day is different, but Sedjut is trained to handle it all.

Samantha Sejut
Samantha Sejut is a 911 dispatcher in Sheboygan County. She says she likes to be able to make a difference in her community.

"I really believe in public service. It is important to me. I knew that whatever I did, I wanted it to have a greater purpose," said Sejut.

Sejut has been working at the 911 center for the past 7 years and said a lot has changed.

"We have so many new programs and things that we use to help us," she says.

New technology, GPS, and text-to-911 have made the job a little easier, but there are still those emotionally heavy times — talking to people on the worst day of their lives.

"It's very important to kind of push through the conversation. Just have to keep asking people the questions and let them know that you're there to help," said Sejut.

And across from where she sits is her colleague Michael Brungraber. He has been in the industry even longer.

Michael Brungraber
Michael Brungraber has been a dispatcher since he was 16 years old and in that time, he's seen and heard it all.

"I started dispatching ambulance in Sheboygan Falls when I was 16 years old," said Brungraber.

Over the decades, he has heard it all, handling a variety of calls. On Wednesday morning, he took a call about a lost item on the highway.

"A gentleman lost a hydraulic cylinder this morning on Highway 57. It wasn't strapped in well," said Brungraber.

Although this call was a simple one, Brungraber said during those stressful times, the most important thing is helping others. And if the job gets overwhelming, there is a peer support system.

After work, for Brungraber, decompressing means spending time with his wife.

"I do what I call nacho therapy. So if I have a stressful day, my wife and I will go out to dinner and just kind of enjoy some music," said Brungraber.

Over the years the job has become increasingly busier. The number of calls coming into Sheboygan County Dispatch has increased from 116,839 in 2021 to 135,840 in 2023.

"We're handling everything for the county and the city. Everything starts here," said Brungraber.

Sheboygan local Barbara Bower said she is thankful she has never had to call 911.

"That's a good thing," said Barbara.

She also said she feels confident if she was in an emergency situation, Sheboygan County dispatch would be able to help her right away. She said these hardworking men and women don't get the credit they deserve.

"Because they are the people behind... you never see them, they're behind-the-scenes," said Bower.

As the phones continue to ring at Sheboygan County 911 Communications Center , Sedjut and Brungraber said having a week to celebrate their job makes them feel good, but the real reward comes from impacting others in the community.

"It's definitely a feeling of accomplishment," said Sejut.

"It definitely is a good feeling. We do end up helping save lives on this end, so it is kind of nice," said Brungraber.