Jeannie Nyhus

Story Vault

By Jeannie Nyhus

Editor’s Note: Jeannie Nyhus’ co-workers at Metro Communications Agency in Sioux Falls, S.D., submitted the following tribute in honor of her 33 years at the communication center.

Jeannie Nyhus started her career at Metro Communications in 1980. At that time, the agency was transitioning from being run by the Sioux Falls Police Department to a civilian operation. She was one of the first women originally hired to work in the 9-1-1 center.

Thirty-three years later, Jeannie decided she is ready to hang up her headset.

Over her long career, Jeannie worked in dispatch as an operator and then was promoted to assistant shift supervisor. She was promoted in 1994 and dedicated the remainder of her working years as a shift supervisor.

Metro Communications asked Jeannie to reflect on her career during the years.

MC:What was the most significant change in the 9-1-1 profession since you started?

JN:Without a doubt, technology. When I first started, we looked up warrants on a Rolodex card, and everything was done with pen and paper.

MC:What is something you don’t think has changed with the profession over time?

JN:The type of calls. People still get hurt. We still have family disputes and accidents. While the way we handle them is different, the basic call for help is the same.

MC:If you could pass on advice to a new supervisor in this profession, what would it be?

JN:Trust your gut feeling. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

MC:What will you miss the most when you retire?

JN:I will miss the people I’ve worked with. I will be sad to leave my work family. The camaraderie we share has to be unlike any other profession. I will miss the laughter, conversations, the good times, the bad times; we all went through it together.

MC:What has been the most rewarding part of your career?

JN:I know this may sound cliché, but when I walk out the door after each shift, I know that I made a difference in the lives of people. Whether it was a citizen, an officer, or a co-worker, I was there for that person when the help was needed.

MC:Retirement in the 9-1-1 profession is rare as many experience burnout within the first few years and move on to another line of work. An individual meeting the demands of the 9-1-1 profession as many years as Jeannie did is extraordinary. Jeannie’s commitment to the first responders, the public, and her co-workers is second to none. We wish her a wonderful retirement and thank her for her selfless years of service.

About the agency

According to the agency’s annual report (2012), Metro Communications Agency employs 45 people, which includes six supervisors, 33 operators, and six administrative staff. The 24-hour agency responds to the public safety needs of Minnehaha County and the City of Sioux Falls by providing calltaking and dispatch services for both emergency and non-emergency situations.

Metro Communications averages 90,000 emergency 9-1-1 calls and 230,000 non-emergency calls while serving approximately 190,000 citizens in Minnehaha County and the City of Sioux Falls annually. The agency provides services to three law enforcement agencies, five ambulance agencies, and 15 fire departments, as well as Minnehaha Emergency Management and Sioux Falls Animal Control.

Metro Communications Agency is an Academy Accredited Center of Excellence and achieved its reaccreditation in 2012.