BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Law enforcement agencies here in Kern County are honoring its 911 dispatchers through National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week.
The Kern County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch Center operates 24/7 out of this room, answering more than 11,000 calls a week.
They say along with the rest of the sheriff’s office, the dispatch center is short staffed which can affect response times in Kern County.
“We take everything from people being shot or stabbed to kids in a pool, traffic accidents, you name it,” said Angela Maynard, Dispatch Assistant.
Dispatchers said when answering 911 calls, no two days are the same. “You never know what’s on the other end of that phone.”
Maynard said at times, it can feel like a negative environment, but she makes sure she stays focused on helping those in need.
“When it is a true life or death emergency, you are engaged and involved in that call and helping that person’
KCSO Dispatch Supervisor Kyanna Garrett said the dispatch center receives about 1,700 calls a day and more than 11,000 a week.
Garrett said along with the rest of the sheriff’s office, the center is short staffed.
“It requires us to have longer answer times for the phone.”
“There’s been times where you have someone that you know they are having an emergency you know it’s a life-threatening emergency, but you literally have no one to send them. So, now you’re trying to think outside the box, and can another agency help us because someone has got to help them.”
Garrett said you should only call 911 if you are in a life-threatening situation.
“Kids playing basketball in the street, they are being too loud it’s not an appropriate use of 911.”
The center receives calls from people during the worst moments of their life. Dispatcher Mike Derryberry said no matter the situation he puts his feelings aside to do what he can to help.
“It will affect you no matter what, but you have to keep yourself protected because if you don’t then you can’t do the job,” said Derryberry.