“Our Lifeline”: Red River Dispatch Plays Vital Role for First Responders

The Red River Dispatch Center is a lifeline for many in crisis.
But they are also a huge resource for law enforcement and first responders.

The dispatch center is essentially the officer’s eyes and ears before they even arrive on scene.

Dispatch gets the call, and first responders arrive on scene.

Law enforcement says dispatchers are their lifeline when it comes to safety.
“You can imagine the demands of the various types of calls were responding to, the officers are looking for a lot of information that help their safety,” said Lt. Tory Jacobson of Moorhead Police.
Mary Phillippi, the Red River Dispatch Director, says dispatchers are thoroughly trained on scene safety, which allows them to dig deeper with callers on details and alert officers as necessary.
“The questions they’re asking are what they need to know when they arrive. So they’re the eyes on scene and if somebody gives information then we follow up on that,” said Phillippi.
Phillippi says anything from hazardous materials, to someone who is armed and dangerous; dispatchers are constantly navigating and assessing the scene through callers.

Phillippi says the constant relationship building with officers is also one of the ways that helps them work successfully as a team.
“Officers are calling, they recognize their voices, and they realize that they have a job to do that’s an important intricate  part,” said Phillippi.
Lt. Jacobson says many times dispatch is preparing officers mentally, emotionally, and even physically for each call of service.
“We have somebody that is paying attention to the officers, and going to ensure whatever resources needed. They’re right there with their full attention,” said Lt. Jacobson.
Dispatchers are there for first responders in time of need, so that they can be there for us in times of crisis.

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