Wednesday, March 21 , 2018, 8:01 am | Light Rain Fog/Mist 54º


Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office Thanks Dispatchers During National Telecommunicators Week

The work of Extra-help Dispatcher II Jessica Smith and Duty Officer Peter Ysebrands lies on the metaphorical “thin gold line,” nestled between the red and blue lines of law enforcement.
The work of Extra-help Dispatcher II Jessica Smith and Duty Officer Peter Ysebrands lies on the metaphorical “thin gold line,” nestled between the red and blue lines of law enforcement. (Zack Warburg photo)

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office would like to take this opportunity during National Telecommunicators Week to recognize and say thank you to its highly trained, professional and compassionate team of public safety dispatchers, who are the first and most critical contact citizens have with emergency services.  

They provide a vital link for Sheriff’s deputies, firefighters, EMTs, paramedics, custody deputies, probation officers and more, whose activities are monitored by radio, allowing dispatchers to provide them with necessary information in a timely manner to ensure their safety.

In 2015, Santa Barbara County dispatchers dispatched 162,118 law enforcement calls for service, 21,500 fire incidents and 51,665 AMR medical incidents for an average of 645 calls each day.  

Dispatchers answered more than 64,000 calls in 2015 for an average of 830 telephone calls per day.

Also this past year, five Santa Barbara County dispatchers received life-saving awards from the Emergency Medical Services Agency for CPR saves.

Sheriff Bill Brown expressed his appreciation for the important work Santa Barbara County dispatchers do.

“Dispatchers are the unsung heroines and heroes behind the phone calls who help save lives each and every day,” he said. “We are indebted to each of you for your extraordinary dedication to public safety.”

Undersheriff Bernard Melekian, whose first position in law enforcement was dispatching, expressed his gratitude as well.

“Each day you respond to emergencies without the benefit of first hand observation or physical control, and yet you are able to bring calm to chaos, the feeling of safety to the fear stricken and empowerment to the helpless,” he said. “I marvel at your incredible talents and truly appreciate the invaluable service that you provide to the community.”

The Santa Barbara County Public Safety Dispatch Center has 31 dispatchers, including supervisors. 

The process of becoming a dispatcher is a challenging one. Dispatchers undergo a rigorous testing and background process followed by months of intense training and then a period of on-the-job training before they work independently.  

While there are no current openings, if you are interested in becoming a dispatcher, visit and fill out an interest card.

Kelly Hoover is the information officer for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.

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