“It’s been a busy morning.”
With those words Deb Kottschade succinctly defined just about every day in the county dispatch center.
Kottschade is one of several individuals who sits hour after hour 24 hours a day seven days a week keeping their ears open for in-coming calls that could involve anything from a driver reporting cattle loose on a roadway to a fatal car crash.
Kottschade, who has been working for the Redwood County Sheriff’s Department as a dispatcher and jailer for the past 18 years said it was listening to her husband’s scanner that got her interested in serving as part of the emergency telecommunications program.
According to Randy Hanson, Redwood County sheriff, there are four full-time dispatchers in the county with another four part-time individuals who work to guarantee every minute of every day is covered.
That way when someone calls 911 they can be sure someone is going to be on the other end of the line – regardless of the time of day…even holidays.
This week is Tele-communications Week across the nation, and it serves as a time when those who help to coordinate emergencies from fires to severe weather across the nation are recognized for their efforts.
“When an emergency happens it is usually the officers and emergency personnel who get the credit,” said Hanson, “but they would not even know where they are supposed to go without the dispatchers.”
Hanson said those who answer the calls don’t receive the appreciation they de-serve from the public – mostly because no one knows who they are.
“When you call you don’t see them,” said Hanson, adding yet they are always there.
When an emergency occurs the quick re-sponse can mean the difference between life and death, and those who are providing that calming voice in less than calm situations help to ensure officers, ambulance personnel and firefighters get to the right place as soon as is possible.
Dispatchers also receive calls from officers during routine traffic stops to gain information about individuals, and Hanson said because of the layout of the law enforcement center in Redwood Falls those dispatchers also serve as the eyes for the jail.
“They (dispatchers) offer an invaluable service to the area,” said Hanson. “They do all of their work behind the scenes and deserve a big thank you for what they do.”
Those in telecommunications are a vital link between victims and emergency personnel, and their efforts have helped to save lives, apprehend criminals and ensure the public is safe when emergencies take place whatever they are.