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National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week: Honoring the unseen heroes

Every year during the second full week of April, we honor and thank our 911 dispatchers.
Published: Apr. 12, 2021 at 4:38 PM EDT
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NEGAUNEE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLUC) - Every year during the second full week of April, we celebrate National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, where we honor and thank our 911 dispatchers.

“90 percent of the phone calls that we get, it is that person’s worst day,” dispatch Communication Supervisor and Acting Director, Ben Watson, said.

A number of 911 calls dialed in the 906 area code and parts of the lower southwest portion of the state are answered at the Michigan State Police Negaunee Regional Communications Center in Negaunee Township and Marquette County Central Dispatch Center. There are also other 911 dispatch centers in Upper Michigan.

Watson said their job consists of answering phone calls and being there for the public.

“We are the lifeline for that person. We are also the lifeline for the responders on the road,” he said.

Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, Adam Holloway, Emergency Dispatcher for the Michigan State Police, says you never know what a 911 call will bring – and a four-month training program is what will truly prepare you for each situation.

“On the worst day of their life, we’re the first person they talk to, and unfortunately, sometimes we’re the last person they talk to as well,” he said.

Each dispatch station is equipped with 8 computer monitors and a headset, with the ability to answer 911 calls and texts, check in with first responders, track real-time location of police on the roads, and get you the help you need.

“We call ourselves the first-first responders because we truly are the first person that is contacted in an emergency,” said Watson.

Be sure to thank those who dedicate their lives to serving the public, seen and unseen.

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