This week is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, which is a time to recognize dispatchers for taking calls and helping people through their toughest emergencies.
Dispatchers with Nevada Highway Patrol experienced a night unlike any other six months ago. But it was their efforts to stay calm and quickly make decisions that helped them save lives on one October 1.
From answering calls to assisting troopers, dispatchers working at Nevada Highway Patrol’s call center undergo training to know what to say and how to maintain composure.
The Department of Public Safety Dispatch handles about 3,000 calls a day, primarily for NHP. On 1 October they had about 500 in four hours.
On one side it’s dispatch, on the other side, it’s the freeway arterial system of transportation or “fast.”
Both departments work closely and have monitors to give them eyes on the roads.
On 1 October, only four dispatchers were at the call center, so they focused on a major task, shutting down a portion of Interstate 15.
It was an effort requiring coordination which ultimately helped save lives and get troopers to where they needed to be.
“At first, there was a lot of questioning going on like ‘Did I do enough? Did I do it right,” asked Jarred Cherry, a dispatcher with the Department of Public Safety. “Then when you realize that, we were able to shut down those freeways and get people to UMC and to Sunrise.”
Cherry was in the call center on 1 October, but he says his training and experience prepared him for that night.
Cherry credits conditioning on the job for helping him maintain his composure while gathering information to best help troopers on the road. That includes coming in on that night when not scheduled to work, along with how he watched the events unfold while assisting with troopers on the road.