|Wakulla Times Article - February 2010--Communications|
FROM THE SHERIFF'S DESK
as written for the Wakulla Times
As with many aspects of our society, good communications is the key to success. The communications function in a modern law enforcement agency is critical to keeping the community safe. It is also critical to keeping our law enforcement personnel safe and saving our citizen's lives. Your Wakulla Sheriff's Office has a modern Communications Section with state of the art equipment and professional Communications Officers.Your Wakulla Sheriff's Office has a modern Communications Section with state-of-the-art equipment and professional Communications Officers.
Today's environment of daily life is much more fast-paced than from years past. Author Peter Drucker said, "The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't said." Many agree to be effective in communications you must first be effective at listening. The professional Communications Officer with the Wakulla County Sheriff's Office shares this understanding of effective communications. They must accomplish effective communication with citizens in distress, deputies in stressful situations and other first responders at the epicenter of a traumatic incident. They must receive and interpret what is said over a telephone and interpret what is not said. The information they provided to responding deputies or other emergency personnel can and does save life and prevent injury.
The Communications Section of the Wakulla County Sheriff's Office is the heart beat of the WCSO and the first point of contact for citizens requesting a service, reporting a crime, or who have an emergency within the county. The communications center is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days week by trained communications professionals. All calls for service are dispatched from this center which has the latest state- of- the-art technology and equipment for E911 computer aided dispatching (CAD). The professional unified communications center receives calls from the public when a citizen requests a sheriff's deputy, a fire department response, a Emergency Medical Service (EMS) response or responses from Animal Control (responsibility transferred to the County effective October 1, 2009) , or other service. The communications staff also receives all incoming calls on administrative issues and directs those calls to the specific individual or section. For the fiscal year 2008-2009, the communications officers of the Wakulla County Sheriff's Office received 83,538 calls for service. This is a 38% increase over the 2007-2008 fiscal year. Of these calls, 79,157 were for a Sheriff's Office response or were as a result of law enforcement action, community oriented police activity, or citizen's contact and assistance. 2,465 of these calls were for an emergency medical response and 2,221 calls were for a fire response.
•· 118,827 Incoming phones calls answered and routed
•· 83,538 Computer Aided Dispatch calls received
•· 78,852 Computer Aided Dispatch calls requiring a Sheriff's Deputy of those,
•· 24,401 Computer Aided Dispatch calls initiated by proactive Sheriff.
Of the total Computer Aided Dispatch calls;
•· 8,958 Emergency 911 calls received.
•· 2,465 CAD Entries made (tasks assigned) for EMS.
•· 2,221 CAD Entries made for Wakulla County Fire.
•· 4,587 CAD Entries made for others. (Warrants, Transports, other agencies)
The E911 section is responsible for acquisition, implementation and maintenance of all equipment and systems associated with the 911 emergency communications systems used for all emergency service agencies with the county. The E911 Administration Office also maintains all telephone and recorded 911 communications and assists the county in establishing and mapping new streets and roadways, addresses and keeps records and reports of same. The E911 Administrator is required to remain current in all new technologies that may be required to maintain the Emergency 911 system and enhance its capabilities to meet the growing needs of the citizens of Wakulla County. The WCSO has installed the 3rd Phase E911 equipment which is the current state of the art system for emergency communications. This equipment can handle up to 32 simultaneous calls. This may be necessary when a major incident results in 8 to 10 agencies being on scene and numerous calls received and handled during such an event.
Every day, the Communications Officers in the Wakulla County Sheriff's office are a life-line for citizens and deputies in some very strenuous situations. They are the air traffic controllers of the Sheriff's Office operations. The position description for a Communications Officer with the WCSO reads in part, "ability to communicate verbally in a clear, concise, controlled and pleasant manner in a wide variety of circumstances...to simultaneously communicate, interpret communications...to handle irate, and hysterical callers in a calm, courteous, and professional manner. All the while, the Communications Officer may never know the outcome of a situation and their communications with victims or first responders. The quality of the personnel in the position of Communications Officer at the WCSO and the first rate communications equipment enhance the safety of all those living in and visiting Wakulla County.
David F. Harvey, Sheriff