Celebrating National Public Safety Telecommunications Week

9-1-1.

These three little numbers carry a tremendous amount of weight.  They are the ones you dial in state of emergencies, in your time of need, or whenever trouble calls. Washington State Patrol dispatchers are working around the clock, 365 days a year to ensure every one of those calls is answered. Dispatchers are the unsung heroes of the Washington State Patrol, but their work is anything but silent.

So this week, April 10-16, we are recognizing National Public Safety Telecommunications Week to honor all the hard work these men and women do.

Newly appointed Communications Division Commander Heather Anderson emphasized the important role dispatchers’ play, saying they are “the lifeline to our troopers.”

On top of the countless responsibilities that now fall on Anderson’s shoulders – including everything from handling personnel and budgeting – she says her main duty is to make it possible for the dispatchers to do theirs as effectively as possible. She also credits Chief Batiste and his command for giving her the opportunity to affect change for telecommunications from the top down.

As of now, Anderson has been with the Washington State Patrol for 18 years. After being promoted from her first job as a Communications Officer 1, she left feeling as if she didn’t have any transferable professional skills. Now, as a Division Commander, Anderson says some of the best people to hire are dispatchers because “nobody can multi-task better.” Anderson explains being a dispatcher takes natural leadership and an ability to take control of a stressful situation. She says although training is provided, you can’t teach mental strength and maturity and what makes the agency different is its specific set of procedures that equip all dispatchers with a professional foundation to fall back on when calls get tough.

Dispatch officers also feel an enormous amount of pride and responsibility in their job. WSP Communications Officer 1, Tim Van Winkle, says the best part of his job is “being able to help the troopers and help protect the public; as well as to see how our job positively affects safety.”

The Washington State Patrol has a proud history of telecommunications and we are honored to celebrate the hardworking men and women in our call centers who make a difference every day.

The Washington State Patrol is always looking for qualified dispatchers- if you’re interested in a career with us, please visit: http://www.wsp.wa.gov/employment/employment.htm.

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