Public Safety Telecommunicators Week

Dispatcher Kat Hersman answers a call during her shift at the Sheridan Law Enforcement Center.

April 11th through 17th is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. Sheridan Media's Mary Jo Johnson stopped by the Sheridan Police Station to chat with local dispatchers about their work.

With phones ringing and papers rustling, the Dispatch Center on Monday morning was bustling in typical fashion at the Sheridan Police Department.

In between taking calls and sending officers to various locations, Dispatcher Kat Hersman took some time to chat about her job. She alternates between focusing her calls for the Sheriff's Office and the Police Department. Hersman has been with Dispatch for 2 1/2 years, and she tells us what she likes about the position.

Not surprisingly, there are challenges that come with the job, with stress being at the top of the list. Hersman says that getting people to understand that it is the dispatcher's job to prioritize what is a true emergency can be a challenge. Another big challenge is children thinking that dialing 9-1-1 is a game. For example, regarding the call you heard at the top of this story, Hersman says.

There are eleven full-time and one part-time dispatch personnel that cover three different shifts. They are really the unsung heroes of an emergency, and Hersman says that having a week to celebrate their efforts means a lot to the dispatchers.

Hersman says that the various emergency agencies in the County are good about acknowledging their work.

With my own thanks for their service to Sheridan County residents, for news, I'm Mary Jo Johnson reporting.

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