Los Alamos Dispatch Shift Supervisor Wendy Strain confers with Cpl. Chris Ross Friday at the Consolidated Dispatch Center. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
They are the voice on the line when you dial 911 for help.
They are the unseen first responders – working behind the scenes every day as an integral part of the public safety net in Los Alamos – assisting police, fire and emergency medical personnel to respond quickly to your needs.
This week the nation is honoring its 911 dispatchers for the vital service they provide to their communities.
Dispatch Shift Supervisor Wendy Strain and Dispatcher 1 Randon Romero at work in the Los Alamos Consolidated Dispatch Center, which fields local police, fire and medical emergency calls. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
“National Dispatchers Week gives us the opportunity to publicly recognize the people we have working in our dispatch center,” Capt. Randy Foster said. “They have enormous amounts of training and education but beyond that they are such fine individuals. I believe that they are the best group of dispatchers working in the entire state.”
The Los Alamos Consolidated Dispatch Center is housed inside the police station at 2500 Trinity Dr.
Los Alamos Police Chief Wayne Torpy with Dispatch Shift Supervisor Wendy Strain. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
Dispatch Shift Supervisor Wendy Strain has been an emergency dispatcher for 25 years, five in Jemez Springs and the last 20 with the Los Alamos Police Department.
“I enjoy the variety of work and the excitement, but more than that this work gives me an opportunity to help our community members and to provide support to our law enforcement officers, firefighters and EMS personnel in the field,” Strain said.
Randon Romero is a Dispatcher 1 who has worked for the local CDC for one year.
“I really like the fact that it’s so unpredictable – every day is different,” Romero said.
They have a few openings but when fully staffed, the CDC employs 14 fulltime dispatchers.
Consolidated Dispatch Center Supervisor Kate Stoddard. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
CDC Supervisor Kate Stoddard has been in charge of the local operation for the last six years.
“I chose the dispatcher profession because it’s a way for me to give back to the community and to make a difference,” Stoddard said. “I couldn’t imagine doing anything else but being a dispatcher for this police department. This is the most professional group of dispatchers I’ve ever had the privilege of working with or watching work.”
Stoddard explained that dispatchers are trained to handle all types of calls including medical emergencies.
“These dispatchers go through so much training and certifications and licensing in order to perform their duties,” she said. “The type of people who sign up for all of this and to work these crazy hours are truly people who are dedicated to the profession.”
President George H.W. Bush established National Dispatchers Week in 1992 as a way to recognize the 500,000 women and men working in this important field.
The CDC also handles emergency calls for other departments of Los Alamos County after regular working hours, weekends and holidays.
The number to call for non-emergencies is 662-8222.