National Public Safety Telecommunications Week begins Monday in honor of dispatch emergency professionals.
“Dispatchers are a vital role within the department,” said Sgt. Jamie Starling, Claremore Police Department. “They are our lifeline and sometimes not recognized as they should be because they’re behind the scenes, but we love them.”
Before Starling joined the Claremore police force, she was a CPD communication officer for 13 years.
She said she learned a lot about emergency response as a dispatch professional.
Last year, CPD Communication officers dispatched approximately 27,000 calls and answered approximately 10,000 calls that were not dispatched such as calls for phone numbers, officers, records and administration, said Communications Supervisor Stacey Dowden.
“We answer all 9-1-1 calls for the City of Claremore Police, Fire and Medical. We constantly monitor weather and set off tornado sirens when needed.”
In addition, communication officers answer all calls for City of Claremore utilities after hours as well as bond subjects out of jail, who have received city charges. These are just a few of the dispatchers’ responsibilities, she said.
“There is a communication officer here 24/7, it never ends. It can get tough sometimes when you’re short staffed like we are.”
The CPD currently has nine communication officers on staff, including Supervisor Dowden, who has worked with the dispatch unit for more than 11 years.
The dispatchers are either currently certified or will be certified in CPR, Emergency Medical Dispatch, Emergency Telecommunications, Oklahoma Law Enforcement Telecommunications Systems (OLETS), National Law Enforcement Telecommunications Systems (NLETS) and National Incident Management Systems.
OLETS is a program of the Department of Public Safety and is an information sharing network that allows law enforcement agencies across the state access to both state databases and information from various states as well as the federal government, according to information from the Department of Public Safety.
NLETs, a non-profit corporation, owned and operated by states and funded solely by fees for service, includes a state-of-the-art secure information sharing system for state and local law enforcement agencies.
As part of National Public Safety Telecommunications Week, Dowden said each communication officer will receive a jacket with the CPD logo in recognition of their dedication and hard work.
The Claremore Police Department is currently taking applications for communication officer positions through next Friday. Those interested can fill out an application online at claremorecity.com/jobs.
Residents wanting to write a commendation to Claremore’s public safety dispatchers can visit claremorepolice.com for email information.