Welcome to Hutch Post’s new feature series "A Day in the Life." We've gone behind the scenes to see what "a day in the life" is like for some of Reno County's busiest shops, factories and businesses. We'll show the inner workings of facilities you may pass every day, to finally see what goes on inside. From boilers to donuts, join us as we learn how things are designed and produced right here in Reno County with "A Day in the Life." This series will be posted every other Sunday morning.
By ROD ZOOK
HUTCHINSON, Kan. — If you have the ability to listen in or you work in any type of law enforcement or emergency service, you hear the voices of Reno County 911.
The dispatch center located in the lower levels of the law enforcement center is the communications heartbeat of the city and county. The center does all dispatching for city and county law enforcement along with fire and EMS services.
The job is a mix of quiet and high-stress situations that brings a mixed bag of workload during a 12-hour shift.
The center is dark and quiet with enough stations to seat six dispatchers although, at the moment, only two are on board during a shift. Each station has its own lighting, controls to lower or raise the table holding a bank of eight computer screens, and ergonomically-friendly chairs for the long shift.
The dispatcher takes calls from the public and uses the computer system to prioritize calls from the public or other entities, then dispatches the necessary services to that particular call. The screens show where each unit is located and their specific duties. The computer can also break down very small areas to where a person or subject can be located. Each of those small areas is named and that can be called out as needed.
The job can be stressful, especially during long-term active situations such as wildfires and other similar emergencies where a lot of personnel are on-the-scene both from Reno County and outside the area.
Health and well-being are important to the com center as there are areas where dispatchers can go and have some quiet time to regroup. The center also utilizes the police department's new therapy dog when needed. Each dispatcher also has their own locker to house needed items. The 911 center also has a second area of consoles and computers where new dispatchers can train.
Director Jessica Lynch says they are in need of additional dispatchers and are working to find the necessary personnel. It is not an easy job, but it is rewarding to those willing to put in the time
If your business or industry would like the opportunity to show off how you do things, contact Rod Zook at [email protected] or call 620-259-7396 and be a part of "A Day in the Life."