Cook County – Emergency response starts with a call to a 911 Communications Center. The dedicated professionals that answer every single one of those calls in some of people’s darkest hours are 911 Dispatchers. The calm voices on the other end of the line are the behind-the-scenes heroes. Their job is more than just answering phones and radio calls. Dispatchers determine the type and level of response necessary, monitor response progression and safety of responding units, operate the computer-aided dispatch system that creates vital records, and delivers pre-arrival emergency medical instruction. From initiating a response to the “all clear”, they are involved with each police, fire, EMS and community emergency call.
These professionals are often forgotten and go unrecognized for the work they do. April 8-14, 2018, is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week and the Cook County Sheriff’s Office is taking time to celebrate the people who tie the many arms of emergency response together.
“Dispatchers are at the end of a call from the public 365 days a year and 24 hours a day,” said Sheriff Pat Eliasen. “They are expected to remain calm, professional, empathetic, knowledgeable, compassionate, and extract pertinent information while someone may be having the worst moment of their life. They are the nerve center of any public safety office and deserve every bit of credit and praise that can be given to them. All Dispatchers, but especially the Dispatchers who work for Cook County, have my admiration and respect.”
The Cook County Sheriff’s Office 911 Communications Center employs six full-time Dispatcher/Jailers along with a Lead Dispatcher and the Jail/Dispatch Administrator. As if manning the helm of the 911 communication ship isn’t enough, Dispatchers are also Jailers and manage jail operations and inmates in accordance with the Department of Corrections standards. The Cook County 911 Dispatch Team includes Dispatch/Jail Administrator – Ben, Lead Dispatcher – Lindsay, Dispatchers: Darcy, Heather, John, Dawn, Britta and Ben B.
“Most dispatchers choose this profession because it is more of a “behind the scenes” profession,” said Lindsay Mielke, Lead Dispatcher. “Dispatchers don’t like a lot of attention thrown their way and are fine with being the quiet, humble heroes only known by their voice. The Dispatch staff here is nothing less than phenomenal. They are professional with callers and they are proud and honored to do their part to serve and protect our residents and visitors.”
911 Dispatchers are an integral part of the emergency response team, but they’ll tell you, “Every role is important – from the dispatcher to the law enforcement officer, the medical responder, and the firefighter; we are all a team.”
Take a moment during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week to let our Cook County Dispatchers know how much they are appreciated – just don’t call 911 unless it’s an emergency!