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National Public Safety Telecommunications week to honor dispatchers

The week honoring dispatchers takes place in mid-April each year

Emergency dispatchers will be recognized April 14-20 during National Public Safety Telecommunications week.

The week was launched in 1981, and was officially approved by Congress and President Bill Clinton in 1991.

Eleven full-time and one part-time dispatchers, one trainee and the dispatch supervisor work in the Cortez Police Department, but they don’t just monitor police calls.

The dispatchers also answer calls for the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office, Mancos Marshal’s Office, Southwest Ambulance/EMS, West Fork Volunteer Fire Department, and the Cortez, Lewis-Arriola, Pleasant View, Dolores, Rico, and Mancos fire protection districts. They also work part-time and after hours at Mesa Verde National Park and Dolores County Sheriff’s Office.

Last year, Montezuma County dispatchers answered about 60,000 calls, or about 165 per day, according to a dispatch employee. The employee requested that he not be identified because employees sometimes receive offensive personal phone calls.

Summers tend to be busier because of outdoor activities.

According to Business Insider, dispatchers have one of the most stressful jobs in the United States. Responding to more than 240 million calls each year, they score a 98 out of 100 in stress tolerance.

Dispatchers are on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week, often in life-or-death circumstances. Many dispatchers suffer from critical incident stress syndrome, which has similar symptoms to post-traumatic stress disorder.

This article was reposted April 9 to remove a photo of the dispatch center provided by Kelly Codner, public information officer for the Cortez Police Department, and to remove quotations from an unnamed source.