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Police Dispatchers Honored During National Public Safety Telecommunications Week

April 13, 2021, 8:25 AM HST
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Hawai‘i County took a moment to honor its dispatchers, Monday, April 12, as part of National Public Safety Telecommunications Week, also known as “Dispatch Week,” which runs from April 11-17.

The ceremony took place at the Hilo Police station, which was attended by Police Chief Paul K. Ferreira and command staff, Mayor Mitch Roth presented a proclamation from the Office of the Mayor to the department recognizing dispatchers for their hard work.

Dispatchers are the first and most critical contact island residents and visitors often have with emergency services. All 911 calls go directly to police dispatch where callers are asked if they need police, fire, or medical services. Fire and medical services calls are routed to the fire department.

“Emergencies can occur at any time requiring police, fire, or emergency medical services and our dispatchers are there to answer the call at any time of day or night,” Ferreira said. “…It’s not an easy job. Our dispatchers are very committed to public safety and are able to calmly work in a fast-paced high-stress environment, providing emergency response to our residents while dispatching first responders to provide assistance.”

HPD has a total of 30 dispatch staff, 25 police radio dispatchers and five supervising police radio dispatchers, with about six to seven police dispatchers working per shift for a total of 20 dispatchers on duty during a 24-hour period. On any given day, dispatchers receive an average of 515 calls to 911, averaging 15,694 calls a month to 911 last year. In 2020, Hawai‘i Police Department dispatchers handled 188,329 calls to 911.

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Initially set up in 1981 by Patricia Anderson of the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office in California, the second week of April is designated as National Public Safety Telecommunications Week to honor the telecommunications personnel in the public safety community. It’s a time to recognize and thank those who dedicate their lives to serving the public.

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