They gained some fame in the old t-v show “Rescue 9-1-1,” but police dispatchers don’t usually get noticed. Law enforcement agencies across the state are trying to change that this week during “National Public Safety Telecommunications Week.” Captain Darrell Cox of the Iowa State Patrol says dispatchers for the I-S-P handled nearly 850-thousand calls last year.They include cellphone calls, helpline calls, direct calls from officers of the patrol, D-N-R and motor vehicle enforcement. Cox says the dispatchers are a vital link for officers in the field.He says the dispatcher is often times the only contact an officer has on scene as they’re waiting for a backup or other needed services. Cox says dispatchers face a lot of pressure in their jobs.He says, just like officers, dispatchers can be handling something that’s very high-stress at one moment, then something routine, and then back to high-stress all in a short period of time. He says dispatchers deserve credit for their fine work, as they stay calm in tough situations. The Iowa State Patrol has 70 people working in its communications division in Atlantic, Storm Lake, Des Moines, Fairfield, Cedar Rapids and Cedar Falls. There are hundreds of other dispatchers working for city and county law enforcement agencies across the state.
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