First Link in the Chain

Here in Auburn Hills we employ 9 folks to answer your calls 24 hrs  daily x 7 days weekly x 365 days per year.  It is a challenging job at best and all 9 are highly trained to do this important job.  I’d like you to meet them:

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I’ve heard stories about public safety dispatchers who hang up on people or chew them out for calling 911.  That doesn’t happen here.  These are folks who care about others. I’ve seen them work hard to find 911 callers who get to us by some freak accident of cellular phone technology and are having a heart attack but don’t know where they are.  They figure out where they are by asking them what landmarks they are seeing or where they were last.  It isn’t uncommon that these people are nowhere near Auburn Hills.  They talk suicidal folks out of harming themselves when they can.  They calm people hiding from burglars and let them know police are on the way.  They get resources for police and fire on the scenes of serious incidents.  They take great satisfaction in helping people and I’m proud to say that they go the extra mile.

So how busy are they?  In 2011:

  • 3674 wireline 911 calls were received
  • 17,056 wireless 911 calls were received
  • 739 VOIP (computer services like Comcast or Vonage)
  • 21,471 total 911 calls were processed
  • 45,789 calls to our non emergency lines
  • 20,691 total incidents were dispatched

That makes us one of the busiest call centers in Oakland County.  We are part of a “virtual” consolidation which means that although we staff our own center, we share a radio system, computer aided dispatch and records management system with the CLEMIS partnership of all 61 communities of Oakland County. 

Our Police Service Officers are the first link in the public safety chain–and the glue that holds it together during critical incidents. 

I always run a radio in my office so I can listen to the activity in and around our community.  Sometimes I can detect something big might be happening by the subtle changes in their voices as they are talking to police officers or fire fighters in the field.  I go directly to Communications  since that is where all information comes in and goes out.  It is where I have the tools and resources to make things happen to support the actions in the field.  And I enjoy watching them work as a team with our police and fire departments — they aren’t the only ones who derive a great sense of satisfaction from their work, I do too.

Next week, April 8-13 is National Public Safety Telecommunicator Week.  To the Auburn Hills Police Service Officers and

911 operators and dispatchers all over the country: Thank You.