To the editor:
The week of April 14 through April 20 has been dedicated as National Public Safety Telecommunicator Week. The Jasper County Sheriff’s Office would like to recognize and honor our staff who perform these duties every day of the year.
We employ nine dispatchers who communicate, via radio, phone and internet with all emergency first responders within the county.
Each year, our dispatchers handle an average of 35,000 calls for service. They are almost always the first and last person to be involved in these calls.
For most responders, they are the lifeline, providing valuable information and sending needed resources, in order that each incident is handled safely and efficiently. Many times, they are required to handle several duties at once.
For example, during the ice storm in Jasper County in February 2007, two dispatchers on duty handled over 800 phone calls involving routine and emergency situations, in one shift.
These calls included lines down, car accidents, power outages and many other situations. Dispatchers were required to prioritize each call and evaluate what resources were available to handle the incidents. During this time, our dispatchers also had to set aside their own personal concerns about family, friends and their homes, in order to perform their job.
Without their dedication and professionalism, the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office would not be able to provide the level of service that we do. We would like to honor our staff during this nationally recognized week.
John R. Halferty
Jasper County Sheriff