County celebrates dispatchers

Dispatchers in Douglas County work around the clock, directing emergency calls for everything from the dog with a broken leg to domestic disputes.

Local dispatcher Kurt Dietrick said he once helped deliver a baby over the phone.

"There are a lot of good things about this job, but one of the best is knowing you actually helped someone in their time of need," he said. "Sometimes, I feel the hopelessness of not being able to get that person what they need, but there's always something around the corner to cheer you up."

April 9-15 is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week and the Minden office dispatchers have been receiving everything from free lunches to T-shirts and pizza from appreciative co-workers, said Nonie McCandless, communications supervisor for the Douglas County Public Safety Communications Center.

"I don't think anyone in the field could do without us," she said. "We take care of people reporting incidents to the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, fire departments and ambulance - everything."

McCandless said the center has received its share of big calls in Douglas County over the last couple of years, including last year's officer-involved shootings.

"That's hard on the people sitting here," she said. "These officers are co-workers."

For the past several years, public safety agencies nationwide have recognized the pivotal role played by telecommunicators, public safety dispatchers and all personnel who provide support to law enforcement, fire services, emergency medical services and other government field personnel.

Tahoe-Douglas Fire District firefighters brought in lunch for all three shifts and the Douglas County Sheriff's Office brought in a platter of sandwiches for each shift. The Alpine County Sheriff's Office provided food another day.

Dispatchers work with the Douglas County Sheriff's office, Washoe Tribe Police, Alpine County Sheriff, East Fork Fire District, Tahoe-Douglas Fire District and Animal Control.

"The Washoe Tribe Police gave everyone polo shirts that say 'Douglas County 911 Communications Center' and the East Fork Fire District donated tickets for their annual appreciation dinner and a giant cake," McCandless said.

n Susie Vasquez can be reached at or 782-5121, ext. 211.


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