Central Dakota Communications Center dispatchers are trained first responders

Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 4:31 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - When we think of a dispatcher, we think of someone taking a call and sending it out to the responsible party. What you may not know is that a dispatcher is fully trained to react as a first responder when you have an emergency.

At Central Dakota Communications Center, phone calls are coming in and the lines are lighting up. This is the kind of environment a police and emergency dispatcher works in. The job is demanding, emotional and at times stressful depending on the call you receive.

“In one instance you could be taking a call dealing with someone who is feeling suicidal or something like that and then the next call you take right after you hang up is a parking complaint. So, you have to be able to adjust your emotions that way,” said Jason Johns, a communications specialist for CenCom.

A lot goes into being a dispatcher, from dealing with the public to speaking with officers or emergency personnel out in the field. The main skill is to keep communication moving.

“It’s communicating with people over the phone, it’s communicating with coworkers, because everyone needs to know what’s going on in this room and make sure they are aware of the situations that come up. Oftentimes, we will get multiple calls regarding the same incident,” said Colleen Stockent, the Assistant Director for CenCom.

Dispatch schedules can be anywhere from eight to twelve-hour days. Dispatchers are constantly waiting for that next call and how they can help a member of the public with their particular situation and hopefully getting them to a resolution.

“I know it sounds cliché, knowing that I am able to help people whether it is something as simple as a parking complaint or giving CPR instruction over the phone, it can all be pretty rewarding,” says Johns.

CenCom wants members of the public to know that the dispatchers are dedicated, highly trained and want to be helpers in their community.

Dispatchers also have the capability of receiving texts to 911 if you do not feel comfortable calling. Just another way they are expanding emergency technology.