“Working as a dispatcher is such a different lifestyle,” Martha Quesenberry said, saying she knows she missed out on lots of family time, including plenty of holidays over the years.
Every minute of every hour and every hour of every day of the year, a group of Redwood County employees is on the job ensuring lines of communication are open. Those communication lines are vital, as they allow law enforcement officers and emergency personnel to get information where it is needed as soon as is possible. Those folks who take the calls from fire departments, county sheriff’s deputies, ambulance services and others are county dispatchers, and as part of National Tele-communicators Week, those behind the monitors are being recognized for all they do. This past Tuesday night, Martha Quesenberry and Steve Schwartz were on the job serving during many of the hours when most of the rest of the county is asleep. “I’ve been doing this for 25 years this October,” Quesenberry said, adding she has loved the job all along. No, she admitted, the hours have not always been ideal, but there are never two days that are the same.
In addition to Schwartz and Quesenberry there are three other full-time dispatchers – who also serve as jailers for the Redwood County Sheriff’s Department – including Julie Senst, Deb Kottschade and Sue Bowen. Quesenberry said there is also one part-time jailer/dispatcher, adding finding part-time people to fill those positions is a challenge. Speaking of challenges, Quesenberry said things have definitely changed in dispatch since she first started. As an example, she said the new ARMER system has meant increased use of technology as information is communicated. There are several monitors set up in front of both dispatch areas, with those monitors allowing the dispatcher to connect with different personnel simultaneously. It also provides views of each area of the jail, she added. “Working as a dispatcher is such a different lifestyle,” Quesenberry said, adding she knows she missed out on lots of family time, including plenty of holidays over the years. Yet, she added most of what she does is enjoyable, adding there are times when one’s adrenaline rises. “If you are interested in law enforcement but don’t want to be an officer, being a dispatcher might be a job for you,” she said.