Each year the second week in April is dedicated to the men and women who serve as public safety dispatchers. Originally introduced to Congress in 1991, and officially recognized in 1994, National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week is a time to honor and thank our public safety dispatchers for a job well done.
Last year Inyo County Sheriff’s dispatchers handled thousands of emergency and disaster related phone calls, as well as business and traffic calls. Additionally Sheriff’s dispatch is responsible for the initiation of reverse-911 phone calls through CodeRED. The Bishop Police Department Dispatch also handled thousands of calls for Police, Fire, and EMS services in the Bishop area. On the Federal side, Owens Valley Interagency Communications Center dispatches for the Inyo National Forest and BLM Bishop Field Office, and is responsible for mobilizing resources in support of incidents that occur locally as well as nationally and internationally.
“Dispatchers are unsung heroes,” stated Inyo County Sheriff Bill Lutze. “They are the first to receive emergency calls for assistance, and they perform a very difficult job with professionalism and caring under extreme pressure. I want to personally thank all our public safety dispatchers in Inyo County for what they do.”
Chief Ted Stec of the Bishop Police Department agrees. “Being a Public Safety Dispatcher is an extremely demanding and stressful job. It takes a very special kind of person to do this work and they are often unappreciated as they work mostly behind the scenes. It is my honor to be able to publicly thank them and recognize them for the great work they do.”
California Highway Patrol Bishop Area Captain Tim Noyes stated, “The men and women that dispatch for the California Highway Patrol and law enforcement in general work with the utmost commitment and devotion. Without the hard work of these highly trained men and women countless lives would be endangered. The public only knows about the dispatcher when they call 911 – but each time a new incident occurs, dispatchers are the vital link between the officers, public and all the other first responders going to the scene. Next time you hear about a call, remember there is somebody on that line giving the caller life-saving information or just being a sympathetic ear.”
There are four dispatch centers locally; the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office, Bishop Police Department, California Highway Patrol, and Owens Valley Interagency dispatch. Some of the dispatching duties involve handling calls for law enforcement, fire, ambulance, search and rescue; and other county, state and federal agencies.