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, which was used most notably during the Center Fire in 2011, the Fish Fire in 2012 and the Round Fire in 2015.
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.
Last year, “Interagency” was called upon to send local resources to incidents in Canada, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada and Georgia in addition to areas in Northern and Southern California.
“I’m very proud of our public safety dispatchers,” stated Inyo County Sheriff Bill Lutze. “They are the first to receive an emergency call for assistance and perform a very difficult job with professionalism and caring under extreme situations. 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 California Highway Patrol values our Public Safety Dispatchers as an important link for our officers’ safety. Without their dedicated service to provide coordination of resources and access to information, our officers would not be able to provide high quality service to the public. The Bishop Area CHP would like to use this week to salute all dispatchers as the unseen heroes of law enforcement”.
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.