Have you ever thought about who answers when you dial 9-1-1?
With this being National Telecommunicators Week, the Toms River Police Department is recognizing their amazing communications staff.
A dispatcher’s job is to stay calm, keep the person on the other end of the phone calm, and gather as much information as possible to assist the police officers and make sure they are not walking blindly into a situation. Each day they come into work ready to be there for you in time of crisis.
“Our Police dispatchers are the foundation of our department. Without them, our structure will surely collapse. They are tasked with the responsibility of keeping both our citizens as well as our officers safe, never able to take a break. They are an essential part of our operation and seldom receive the recognition they deserve. They truly are Unsung Heroes” said Sergeant Steve Austin, the Community Affairs Sergeant in charge of Dispatch.
Dispatchers answer all phone calls, both emergency and non emergency. Using an integrated computer aided dispatching system they dispatch Police, Fire and EMS personnel to calls for service.
In addition, dispatchers use state and national systems for comprehensive checks ranging from warrants to criminal backgrounds. They also manage entries into the national crime system for lost, stolen, wanted and missing items and persons.
In the last year, with only 16 full-time and 9 part-time dispatchers, Toms River Police Department handled approximately 198,000 phone calls. That’s an average of 16,500 calls a month.
Within those calls, the dispatcher is also on the radio speaking with the responding officers. There were over 786,000 radio transmissions in the last 12 months between the dispatchers and the officers.
At any given time the dispatchers are responsible for 40-50 patrol units in addition to undercover officers, narcotics teams, and park security units.
Imagine the level of sophistication and skill to maintain your composure and direct the beginning of every emergency call!
“To say we are grateful for all our dispatchers do for the Police Department and the community would be a vast understatement, Toms River Police Chief Mitch Little said. “They are literally our first line of defense in a crisis and we could not operate without them, they are a crucial element of our team and we appreciate them more than they know,” he added.
When each call is over, dispatchers have to jump right into the next without hesitation. There is no time to decompress or process what just transpired… the phone is once again ringing.
The stresses of being a dispatcher make the job not for everyone, there is a very slim retention rate due to the difficulties of the position. It is a fast paced job where you must be able to multi-task and function in high-pressure situations.
Although we don’t say it enough, we truly appreciate and respect each and every one of them and know that without the dispatchers, the department could not operate to the capacity we do!
So to our Toms River Police Dispatchers and telecommunicators around the globe, we thank you!