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911 dispatchers dedicated professionals

By David Allison

Guest Columnist 

I am pleased to have the opportunity to provide information to our citizens about their sheriff’s department. There are many in Pearl River County that have not had any experience with the sheriff’s department. This is my opportunity to provide information to you to understand how we operate.

Our 911 emergency dispatch center is often times the first contact that citizens may have with the sheriff’s department. Our dispatch center is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We currently have 8 full time dispatchers. There are a minimum of 2 dispatchers on duty at any given time.

The dispatch center can, at times be a high pressure environment. Our dispatchers must be able to multi-task. They are responsible for emergency 911 calls, all emergency and “routine” radio traffic from sheriff deputies, non-emergency calls, entering call information in CAD (computer aided dispatch), dispatching calls for service, operating NCIC (National Crime Information Center, for vehicle tag, driver’s license, and criminal history checks), and checking warrant information. They also dispatch all 12 volunteer fire departments as well as Poplarville Fire department and emergency calls only for the Poplarville Police Dept. Fire calls can be especially stressful for dispatchers due to the number fire personnel responding and the inherent danger involved.

Our dispatchers are THE lifeline for all our deputies. With this in mind, it takes special vigilance by the dispatcher to pay close attention to all radio transmissions. This might mean that a dispatcher places you on hold on a non-emergency line to respond to radio traffic. The dispatcher is aware a deputy’s radio call to dispatch could be his/her last.

I am very proud to have dispatchers that are dedicated to their profession and provide a vital service to our deputies, fire fighters and you.

(David Allison is the Sheriff of Pearl River County.)