Dispatchers recognized nationally

Sarah King
News Editor

Dispatchers across the country were recognized for their hard work contributing to the emergency response process during National Telecommunicators Week from April 12-18, and the VCU PD dispatch center was no exception.

The VCU PD Emergency Communications Center, which received 97,551 calls for service in 2014, has 19 dispatchers who oversee calls, the LiveSafe system and electronic access control to buildings on campus.

“This week is designated to recognize all 911 dispatchers or emergency dispatchers for their efforts and dedication in the world of public safety on a 24/7 basis,” said Director of the Division of Security and Emergency Communications for the VCU PD, Tanya Brown. “(Dispatchers) assist in getting police on the scene in a timely fashion.”

Brown said dispatchers also assist with escort services for the medical campus, extending and receiving services in collaboration with the Richmond and Virginia State Police departments and utilize intelligence from the Virginia Fusion Center.

“The average day is hectic. Its extremely hectic. I’d say it takes between a minute and a minute and a half for dispatchers to have the call entered and routed to the next dispatcher for delivery,” Brown said.

VCU PD spokeswoman Corey Byers added that dispatchers have the ability to monitor security cameras on both campuses, monitor radio traffic for incidents that may need VCU Police assistance amd work with patrol officers, captains and chiefs to issue text alerts to the campus.

According to VCU PD Chief John Venuti, if the department sends out an emergency notification via text, a follow up text also has to be issued once the situation is no longer a threat to the community. These texts are sent out by dispatchers.

In addition, there are 250 security cameras installed on the Monroe Park Campus, 107 cameras on the medical campus and 155 cameras on parking decks across the university. These cameras are monitored by the dispatch center as well.

National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week was officially designated as the second week of April in 1994 by President Clinton.

“With over 6,000 Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) in the United States, these Public Safety professionals dedicate their lives to helping others,” said Association of Public Safety Communications Officials President John Wright.

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