They are the first person you talk to in an emergency. They are the calming voice in the time of extreme situations. They are emergency services dispatchers at your local law enforcement agency.
This is the week to thank those who have dispatched police, fire, or EMS as a result of your emergency call. This week is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week.
“National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week has been set aside so everyone can be made more aware of the hard work and dedication of Telecommunicators who provide a vital link to the public safety services that we have come to rely on everyday,” said Starke County Chief Dispatcher and IDACS Coordinator, Dawn Bau. “Everyday, countless numbers of people depend on the skill, expertise and commitment of the women who work here as Public Safety Telecommunicators. The term 9-1-1 is often associated with rapid emergency response, poise under pressure, aid and compassion in times of distress, and critical decision making within seconds. We make the difference between life and death in many instances. By officially recognizing Public Safety Telecommunications personnel, the Starke County Sheriff’s Department hopes to awaken public awareness and promote much needed education regarding important safety issues.”
Dawn was asked what she does as the Chief Dispatcher at the Starke County Sheriff’s Department.
“I’m in charge of scheduling, updating the dispatchers, training, making sure everything is up to date on their training in CPR, and be there for the dispatchers.”
Dawn is also the IDACS Coordinator.
“IDACS is the Indiana Data and Communications System. It’s a computerized law enforcement and criminal justice communication and information storage and retrieval system we use. We have monthly validations we have to do one wanted persons protective orders and stolen vehicles that are archived in the IDACS system.”
Like police and fire personnel, dispatchers have training to complete.
“We have emergency medical dispatch, or EMD, training, and we also have CPR we have to be certified in every year and we have the IDACS and NCIC training that we have to do every two years.”
Dawn says there is no call that is the same and every shift is different. She has worked at the Sheriff’s Department full-time for seven years.
Throughout the week, we will hear from the Starke and Pulaski County dispatchers and what advice they have for listeners when calling in emergencies and what they do as part of their job at the Sheriff’s Department.