Dispatchers: the unseen heroes of public safety

By: Donovan W. Mann – donovanm@977thebolt.com

Humboldt, IA – It is National Public Safety Telecommunication week and it is time to recognize an important part of the emergency response team.

Dispatchers can often go unrecognized for the vital role they play in an emergency situation. They provide a crucial service to their communities by being a calming voice in the most hectic of times.

Chief Deputy Corey Lampe from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office says dispatchers are always there when the calls for service come. “They are the first line of communication when anybody calls in requesting assistance generally through a public safety agency.” They are an essential middle-man between citizens and emergency services.

When anyone calls in for Fire and Rescue, Ambulance Services or Law Enforcement, the dispatcher will be there to answer. Then they will dispatch the appropriate service to those who need it.

An important quality for any dispatcher to have is the ability to stay calm in midst of chaos. “Well I’d say the first quality is they need to be level headed and they have to be able to think clearly under pressure,” Chief Deputy Lampe says. During a course of a quick phone call a dispatcher’s adrenaline could go from “zero to 100” while handling an urgent call for help.

“If someone were to call them up and start screaming that their family member needs help, well they need to be able to calm that person down, be able to keep themselves calm, get the information that’s needed and then dispatch out to Law Enforcement, or to the Fire Department or EMS.”

The chief deputy says the dispatchers at the Humboldt County Law Enforcement Center carry out their duties at a high standard. “One of the things that’s really good is that we’ve had a lot of dispatchers that have served in Humboldt County for a long period of time.” However, there is a changing of the guard currently in progress.

There are new voices and faces currently starting their time with dispatch center. Chief Deputy Lampe says that “we expect that they’re going to have the same level of professionalism and be able to carry on and carry the torch into the future just like our past one have.”

He says the local law enforcement believe the dispatchers are a “vital source” in the realm of public safety. “I think, in general, we all enjoy working with them.”

While not always recognized for the vital service they provide to the community, dispatchers will always be there to answer the calls for service.