You probably won’t recognize these heroes on the street. They do not wear a badge or carry a gun. They do not drive a fire truck, ambulance or patrol car. They work around the clock, holidays and birthdays. They often miss family functions, school activities and are at work when most people are home asleep. Their pictures don’t usually make the paper and they rarely make the news. They are the lifeline between someone who needs help and those who respond to give it.
The City of Yankton’s 911 center employs 10 full-time dispatchers. The newest started last week and the longest tenured has been with the city just over 24 years. Two dispatchers man the center around the clock 24 hours per day and 365 days of the year. Each dispatcher receives twelve weeks of intensive training locally, two weeks of state training and certification by the state of South Dakota.