JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind. — As the Central Indiana area continues to see rises in crime and violence, local 911 centers say they are often severely understaffed.

Employees working at Hoosier 911 centers say rising crime and short staffing have caused even bigger mental health challenges for many dispatchers.

“With rising crime comes rising workload for dispatchers,” said Johnson County 911 Center Director Heath Brant.

Brant said some calls stick with you forever.

“I still remember one of the first calls I ever took,” he said. “I listened to a female get shot by her ex-boyfriend while I was on the phone with her. That was the very first call I took after my training.”

Brant said many dispatchers do not get closure, often left wondering what happened after a call ends.

“The fact that most dispatchers don’t get closure, sometimes your imagination is worse than reality,” he described.

Following this week’s shooting in Louisville, Brant said he can relate to the chaos, shock and horror that comes along with a mass shooting. It was his team who took those first calls from Greenwood Park Mall last July.

“That night we took calls that we never expected to take here,” Brant said.

Moments like that do not just go away when the shift is up, he said.

“The studies are showing that PTSD in dispatchers is growing,” Brant explained. “And it’s a real thing just like it is for every other first responder.”

Brant said this also impacts staffing.

“We see more and more of people leaving this profession because of that,” he said.

And in Indianapolis, now at more than 60 homicides for the year, police also dealing with the same mental toll.

“This has a significant impact, especially after seeing the same crimes over and over,” said IMPD Public Information Sgt. Genae Cook.

IMPD and Johnson County dispatch employees both said they have a wide range of resources for employees dealing with any mental health impacts.

“But as a community, we ask that you reach out to someone if you feel the impact of the violence in the city that you can reach out,” Sgt. Cook said.

Before the calls slow, Brant said mental health will remain a top priority.

“It’s something we have to take seriously with our folks,” he said.

Fortunately Brant said the good calls often outweigh the bad, remembering why they are in it.

In Indianapolis, Sgt. Cook said anyone dealing with the mental health effects of violence should reach out to the IMPD Chaplain’s Office for support and to get connected to resources in the community.