Stemming the flood inside dispatch center
September 28, 2012
At Carson City’s round-the-clock sheriff and fire dispatch center, it never rains. It flash-floods.“Every day is a little different,” Communications Supervisor Marlon Moncada said in describing what many would consider an impossible-to-handle deluge of calls. “You’re never going to get the same call twice. Each call presents a different challenge. You have to deal with it.”The Carson City Sheriff’s Office had its Citizen’s Academy meeting Wednesday night at the communications center, and participants said they were almost dumbfounded by the ability of dispatchers to stay calm and professional when faced with hysteria of some emergency callers — and to take multi-tasking to a new level, juggling multiple emergency calls, entering information into the system for each and staying on top of radio traffic.With 12-hour shifts, dispatchers get long weekends — either three or four days off in a row. Communications Manager Karin Mracek said dispatchers fought for those long shifts, and while she had some initial concerns they’re working well. Moncada has been with the communications center since he was 18 — at this point, nine years.“It’s been a quick nine years. Time flies,” he said, adding that in those nine years, he has learned to push computers away in his off time.“I used to like computers,” he said. “If I need to search the web (at home,) I use a cell phone.”Moncada got into dispatching while taking criminal justice classes. He decided to get into the dispatcher class and he’s been at the center since then. His uncle was a deputy at the time but Moncada was not old enough to be apply to become a deputy, which has a minimum age requirement of 21.Becoming is dispatcher is not easy. Even after training, dispatchers often are not comfortable until after two years in the center.“One in three to one in five makes it out of the training program,” Communications Supervisor Marjorie Knowles said. When a new dispatcher is being trained, “common sense is very important,” she added.The dispatchers also keep track of arrest warrants. After warrants are two months old or it has been two months since the last time they were verified, they have to be verified again.