The National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week was initially set up in 1981 by Patricia Anderson of the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office in California. It is a time to celebrate and thank those who have dedicated their lives to serving the public.
Alex Kenworthy, Deputy Chief of the Marion Police Department, said they honor their dispatchers by posting a thank you on Facebook, purchasing small gifts and taking them out for a meal.
Kenworthy said he is thankful for the work that the dispatchers do. “They are our connection to anything called into the City of Marion. Anytime someone contacts 911 or our administrative lines, dispatchers take the calls,” Kenworthy said.
The work that dispatchers do can go unnoticed during an emergency or 9-1-1 situation. Kenworthy said, “They are in a stressful spot as many people that call in are not in the best situation … they can be rude and disrespectful. The dispatcher must muddle through all that remain calm and listen. So, it can be a thankless position to be in.”
Kenworthy said that their dispatchers check on the officer’s’ safety by communicating via police radio on traffic stops or serious situations they know we are involved with.
“We typically have two, and sometimes three, dispatchers on duty at any given time. They are often very busy with the call volume coming in and general pressures of the job,” said Kenworthy.
For the Grant County Sheriff’s Department, they have 10 full time dispatchers.
Captain Randy Albertson, Grant County Sheriff’s Department, said Telecommunicators Week is important because the dispatchers should be reminded of how much they are needed and valued.
“It is always nice to hear from supervisors or citizens that they are appreciated for the job they do. The job can be very stressful in a career field that includes Police, Fire, and Medical personnel who quite frankly get the thanks and credit when solving problems in the community,” said Albertson.
Albertson said the job is a dispatcher should not be overlooked. They are the ones who has to deal with the subject calling in to report what might be the most traumatic event in their life.
“The dispatcher is without a doubt the most overlooked and underappreciated link in the chain from the call in to the resolution of the call,” Albertson said.
For the National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, dispatchers are encouraged to celebrate and honor themselves and their co-workers. For more information about what is happening this week, visit http://www.npstw.org/.