209 E. Main
Elk Point, SD 57025-2327
Web site: unioncountysd.com
The Union County Sheriff's
Communication Center operates a 24 hour-a-day Public Safety
Answering Point (PSAP)and 911 Center. The Communication
Center is headed by Communication Supervisor/ 911 Coordinator Judy
Oberg. Oberg is responsible for the supervision of 7 full-time
dispatchers. Oberg oversees all the
operations of the Communication Division. All dispatchers are
certified through SD Law Enforcement Training and Standard
Commission. They are also trained and certified through Power Phone
Emergency Medical Dispatch.
What is 911?
911 is the number set aside by
telephone companies throughout the United States to put you in touch
with emergency aid authorities. The concept was established in 1937
in Great Britain. In November 1967, the FCC met with the American
Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) to
find a means of establishing a universal emergency number that could
be implemented quickly. In 1968, AT&T
announced that it would establish the digits 9-1-1 as the
emergency number throughout the US. On February 16, 1968 the first
9-1-1 call was made in the US in Halleyville, Alabama.
All requests for emergency
police, firefighters, or emergency medical personnel, should be made
by dialing 911 from any telephone. This is a free call from public
telephones. It is against the law to misuse 911, if you aren't
certain whether or not your call concerns an emergency err on the
side of caution and dial 911. For non-emergencies, (such as dogs
barking), please call the non-emergency number 605-356-2670 or
When you call 911, the
dispatcher will need to get some basic information from you. A good
9-1-1 Call is clear and factual. While this may be a terrifying
emotional experience for you, only the facts will help law
enforcement come to your assistance.
Your address: While many modern
9-1-1 systems automatically display your address you are calling
from, where you call from might not be where the emergency happened
at. This is the most important piece of data you can relay. Help
cannot come if the location is not known.
Your emergency: It is vital to a
good 9-1-1 call to get to the point. rambling and crying will not
help the deputy come to your rescue. Give the facts quickly and
clearly. What is occurring? Please provide a brief description of
what is happening?
Time Element: When did the
situation you're reporting occur? Was it within the last 5-10
minutes? This helps the dispatcher determine the priority of any
response. Did it just occur or is it a "cold situation. This answers
Suspect Description: If
pertinent, try to tell the dispatcher what the suspect(s) look
like-Male/female, race, age, height, weight,hair, eyes,
Clothing, were they carrying
Weapons or drugs or alcohol
involved : was there a knife, gun, bat, club? Was the person under
the influence of anything? How are they acting?
Vehicle description: If a
vehicle was involved, try to provide the dispatcher with the color,
make, year, model, body type, license number, direction of travel
The response to these questions
will not be delayed by answering the above questions. In fact,
answers to these types of questions often give the deputy the
necessary information to apprehend the suspect(s) quickly. In most
cases, deputies are dispatched while you are still on the phone. The
dispatcher can relay the important information to the deputies prior
to their arrival.
Remember: Remain calm and answer
all the questions. Let the dispatcher control the questioning. Do
not hang up until you are sure the dispatcher is finished with what
Dispatchers monitor and respond
to service and information requests from the public, evaluate
service needs and dispatch appropriate units. Dispatchers perform a
vital function within the department and require skills and
abilities that are unique. At all times, they must have the ability
to be calm when talking to emotionally upset or irate individuals or
when confronted with life and death situations. Dispatchers must
listen carefully, simultaneously distinguishing between, and
monitoring, multiple radio transmissions and telephone
conversations. They also must have the ability to remember past
calls and events and relate correct information to officers in the
field. Working under pressure, Dispatchers must exercise good
judgment and make sound decisions in highly charged emergency
I am the voice that calms the
mother into breathing life back into her apneic infant son.
I am the invisible hand that
holds and comforts the elderly man who woke up this morning to find
his wife of 50 years has passed away during the night
I am the friend who talks the
disgruntled teenager out of ending her own life.
I sent help when you had your
first automobile accident.
! am the one who tried to obtain
the information from the caller to ensure that the scene is safe for
those I dispatch to emergencies--all the while anticipating the
worst and hoping for the best.
I am the psychologist who
readily adapts my language and tone of voice to serve the needs of
my callers with the compassion and understanding.
I am the ears that listen to the
needs of all those I serve.
I have heard the screams of the
faceless people I never will meet nor forget.
I have cried at the atrocities
of mankind and rejoiced at the miracles of life.
I was there, though unseen by
the comrades in the field during the most-trying emergencies.
I have tried to visualize the
scene to coincide with the voices I heard.
I usually am not privy to the
outcome of a call, and so I wonder.....
I am the one who works weekends,
strange shifts and holidays. Children do not say they want my job
when they grow up. Yet, I am at this vocation by choice. Those I
help do not call back to say thank you. Still, there is comfort in
the challenge, integrity and purpose of my employment.
I am thankful to provide such a
I am a mother, father, sister,
brother, son or daughter.
I am where you need me and still
here when you don't.
My office is never empty, and
the work here is never done. I am always on call. The training is
strenuous and endless. No two days at work are ever the same.
I am an emergency dispatcher
and I am proud of it.