The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office would like to take this opportunity during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week to recognize and say thank you to the highly trained, professional and compassionate team of public safety dispatchers at the Santa Barbara County Public Safety Dispatch Center. These dedicated professionals work around the clock to ensure that community members get the help and resources they need as quickly as possible. They are a “Life Line” not only to the community members who are calling for help, but also to the first responders who rely on them for accurate and detailed information.
Most people will only have the 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 advice and instruction to callers in times of crisis. They are the first and most critical contact our citizens have with emergency services. They provide a vital link for our Sheriff’s Deputies, Firefighters, EMTs, Paramedics, Custody Deputies, Probation Officers, and more. Dispatchers monitor their activities by radio and provide them with necessary information in a timely manner to ensure their safety and the safety of all community members.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown expressed his gratitude to the men and women who make up the Santa Barbara County Public Safety Dispatch Center. He said, “Throughout the year our dispatchers have a hand in almost everything our local safety personnel have done for the people we serve. Though unseen and often unsung, our public safety professions could not exist without them. On January 9, our dispatchers handled thousands of calls for help during one of the worst natural disasters in California history. They did so with grace and professionalism. They represented themselves, this agency and the law enforcement profession in an extraordinary manner.”
The Santa Barbara County Public Safety Dispatch Center has 31 dispatchers including supervisors. In 2017, Santa Barbara County dispatched 153,847 Law Enforcement calls for service, 22,131 Fire Incidents and 54,144 AMR Medical Incidents for an average of 630 calls each day. Dispatchers answered 264,896 telephone calls in 2017 for an average of 726 per day. Additionally, four Santa Barbara County Dispatchers received life-saving awards from the Emergency Medical Services Agency for CPR saves and three for assisting with delivering a baby. These recognized dispatchers had direct involvement in the chain of survival for cardiac arrest patients and childbirth.
The process of becoming a dispatcher is a challenging one. Dispatchers undergo a rigorous testing and background process followed by months of intense training and then a period of on-the-job training before they work independently. If you are interested in making a difference and serving your community in this way, go to our website at www.sbsheriff.org and find out more about applying to become a dispatcher.
Thank you to all of our dispatchers for the incredible work you do behind the scenes to ensure that our community members are protected and that our deputies and other first responders go home safely to their loved ones.