State 911 team tours county dispatchMay 28, 2019
By CANDY NEAL
Ed Reuter, executive director of Indiana 911, knows what it’s like to be a dispatcher.
“It is one of the hardest jobs a person can do,” he said Friday morning as he toured Dubois County’s 911 Center. “I know. As a former law enforcement officer, in my career I was a dispatcher for a short time.”
Reuter and Deputy Director Laurel Simmermeyer are traveling the state, visiting the different county 911 departments. Their goal is to see the day-to-day operations and commend the dispatchers for the job they do daily.
“It gives us an opportunity as the board to come down and thank the Dubois County dispatchers, and all dispatchers,” Reuter said. “Regardless of what county you’re in, you’ve got to be ready to go. All emergencies come through here. You’ve got to be ready for them.”
Dubois County 911 Director Jeana Mathies and Assistant Director Kim Snyder showed them the equipment and 911 stations. Mathies said the department currently has 14 dispatch positions; 12 are actively filled currently, and two new dispatchers are in training.
The goal is to have three dispatchers on duty at all times, Mathies said. There are always two on duty, but because of schedule juggling, there’s not always three. Both Snyder and Mathies, who are trained as dispatchers, even step in and help with responding to calls. A 15th dispatcher will soon be added to help with that. County officials recently approved the new position, so a person will be sought for that job, Mathies said.
On duty during the Friday morning tour were Sean Sivori and Aaron Miller. The third dispatcher desk was elevated so that Mathies or Snyder could use it standing up, in case they had to jump in and help with calls.
Sivori has been with the department for eight years, Miller five years. Both are trainers, meaning they can train newly hired dispatchers, to get them up to speed on the 911 system and process. During a moment between calls, Simmermeyer asked them about recent training the state sponsored, and both told her that it was beneficial.
The state 911 board helps out county 911 departments by providing or helping to pay for things like training and some equipment. Reuter mentioned that departments are equipped to take not only take phone calls, but texts as well. People can text 911 departments in cases when they are unable to call.
“We had 215,000 text sessions last year alone, in Indiana,” Reuter said. “There’s no other state that even comes close to what Indiana does.”
Reuter and Simmermeyer were impressed with the layout of the county’s 911 department and system. They also appreciated the professionalism of the staff.
“It’s important to recognize these folks,” Reuter said. “They are one of the least thanked group of people, and yet are ... the most critically needed people.”
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