National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week honors 911 dispatchers
JONES COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) - It’s National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week!
April 10-16, 2022, is a time dedicated to celebrating and honoring the people helping others during some of the worst moments of their lives.
“They don’t get much praise for it,” said Ramona Dungan, 911 communications manager at the Jones Co. Emergency Operations Center. “A lot of them don’t do it for that... they do it just to be able to know they helped someone in a time of need.”
Here in the Pine Belt, Jones County operates as a centralized dispatch.
This means when 911 is dialed anywhere in the county, one of the 13 dispatchers working at the Jones Co. EOC answers the call before delegating it to responding agencies.
“We rely on them to give us the information that we need,” said Sheriff Joe Berlin. “Does the suspect have a gun? Does the suspect have a knife? Is this a civil matter? Is it domestic, or is it a robbery? Whatever it is, we rely on them to give us that information to keep us safe.”
The EOC does this for 19 volunteer fire departments, two paid fire departments, all police forces, and other agencies in Laurel, Ellisville, Soso and Sandersville.
With that much responsibility often comes stress.
“In our line of work, everyone has at least one call that either just sticks with you that you can’t let go of,” said Dungan. “They tell us to leave it at the door... sometimes it’s not that easy.”
However, their hard work doesn’t go unnoticed.
“They’re very vital and we appreciate our Jones County dispatchers here at the EOC,” said Berlin. “They’re one of a kind. They’re wonderful.”
The Jones County EOC is currently looking to hire three full-time dispatchers, according to Dungan.
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