A Day in the Life of a Police Dispatcher

By Megan Trent

April 11, 2012 Updated Apr 11, 2012 at 4:31 PM EST

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Dispatchers are the unsung heroes of law enforcement, but their work is critical in responding to any emergency.

Darcey Goerhing has been a dispatcher at the Fort Wayne Indiana State Police Post for 15 years. She says, "We're their line of safety. We're all they have."

While being a dispatcher is certainly an important job, it's usually a thankless one.

"No, we don't get thanked," says Goerhing. "The troopers can get a card that says, 'Thank you for helping me and my family out,' but us? No."

Of course, that doesn't mean Goerhing and the other dispatchers don't enjoy their jobs.

"I just enjoy it. It's something different every day. It's not the same old routine."

911 calls come into PSAPS (public safety answering points) every day. Then some of those calls are routed to one of six regional state police posts. In Fort Wayne, there are usually two Fort Wayne district dispatchers in one room and two Peru district dispatchers in another. That's 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.

"If you hit (a cell tower in) Huntington County, Huntington County would either transfer you to us or call us and say, 'Hey, you've got somebody broken down or a car accident on I-69 at this location.' Then we'll dispatch our troopers to the scene and get the wreckers out there to them or whatever is needed," explains Goerhing.

Dispatchers can use radios, cell phones, landlines, and computers to keep in contact with troopers and other agencies around the state.

Each trooper's car is equipped with GPS so that dispatchers always know who to call to get the fastest response.

In addition to multitasking, at times the job also requires a lot of strength. "I was working the shift when Dave Deuter got killed years ago," Goerhing recalls. "He was working on the toll road. That was one of my first worst experiences."

So next time you thank a trooper, tell him or her to thank their dispatcher too.




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