Dispatchers may not put out fires or take patients’ temperatures or blood pressure, but they do exist in the category of frontline workers who perform a vital role in ensuring first responders do their jobs.
The work of dispatchers was especially important in this last year as they directed first responders to scenes of 9-1-1 calls and could offer critical information such as whether a person had COVID-19.
Tristian Porter, communications supervisor at the Wylie Police Department’s 9-1-1 communications center, is one of those unsung frontline people. She has worked at the WPD for 13 years. She started her dispatcher duties when she was 21.
“My mom was a dispatcher when I was growing up and my stepdad was a police officer and I just kind of fell into it right along,” said Porter, who works 12-hour shifts and has a 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. duty at the 9-1-1 communications center at WPD.
Porter trains people in the communications center and can fix anything that may arise or help with phones if a busy period occurs or when something large happens, such as a structure fire.
The state requires certain training for dispatchers within a year of their employment. Plus, dispatchers have continuing education hours.
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By Don Munsch • [email protected]