Most people will only need to call 911 once in their lifetime, but it may be the most important call they ever make. Our County Dispatchers are the calm voice on the other end of the line who provide lifesaving instructions to callers in times of crisis. These highly trained, dedicated professionals work tirelessly to ensure that people are provided with the assistance and resources they need as quickly as possible. They are the true “first-first responders” and lifeline, not only to the citizens who are calling for help, but also to the first responders who rely on them for accurate and detailed information.
The Santa Barbara County Public Safety Dispatch Center was consolidated in 1977 to provide more efficient and centralized dispatching for public safety agencies and to serve as a central public safety answering point for the 9-1-1 emergency telephone system. The consolidation brought County Sheriff, County Fire and Emergency Medical Services under one roof, which provided for instant communication and collaboration amongst the agency Dispatchers, especially during high profile incidents and disasters. Working together, face-to-face, reduced response times and enabled them to manage multi-agency incidents much more efficiently, without having to make time-consuming phone calls back and forth to the other agencies.
County Dispatch provides dispatching services, 9-1-1 call taking and non-emergency call taking and support for Santa Barbara County Sheriff, Santa Barbara County Fire and American Medical Response for the areas served by those agencies. The Dispatchers are responsible for determining and prioritizing citizen needs for public safety assistance within the guidelines of agency policies, with allocating public safety resources among existing and anticipated needs, and with supporting and assisting public safety resources via radio and telecommunications systems.
In 2019, the County Dispatch Center handled more than 195,000 calls for service, which translates into approximately 535 calls per day. The center received 58,436 9-1-1 calls, of which 45,258 were wireless callers, for an average of 160 per day. With the inclusion of administrative phone calls, the dispatch center handled almost 295,000 telephone calls in 2019, for an average of 808 telephone calls per day!
The Dispatch Center also provides dispatching services and/or support (generally during non-business hours) for a multitude of County, State and private agencies, including Probation, Animal Services, Public Works, Public Health, State Parole, District Attorney, Hope Ranch Security Patrol, California Department of Fish & Wildlife, Adult and Child Protective Services, Office of Emergency Management and many more.
The County Dispatchers provide Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD), which is a valuable primary component in the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system. The Emergency Medical Dispatchers are trained to quickly recognize when bystanders are in a position to assist a critically ill individual and provide pre-arrival instructions for heart attacks, childbirth, choking, traumatic injuries, and many other emergency medical problems, shortening the amount of time before a patient receives life-saving assistance. When CPR is needed, the Emergency Medical Dispatchers are directly involved in the chain of survival for cardiac arrest patients.
Thank you to all of our dispatchers for the incredible work you do behind the scenes to ensure that our citizens are protected and that our deputies and other first responders go home safely to their loved ones.
The Sheriff’s Office is always looking for people to join our team of dispatchers. If you are interested in applying click here.