Pierre 911 dispatch center state of the art

The center is brand new, and gives dispatchers a high tech setting from which to perform their unique job duties.
Published: Dec. 25, 2020 at 3:34 PM CST
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PIERRE, S.D. (KOTA) - 911 dispatchers are considered the “first first responders.” You might also consider them the central nervous system of emergency workers, the response inside, before the response outside.

“We may not be busy, but they very well could be,” says Cole Martin, Pierre Police Department Patrol Sergeant. “They are gathering information so if they have something that comes in from a different jurisdiction... They can get that information out ahead of us, and to us, when it is needed.”

Dispatchers work all day, everyday, through any holiday.

The center in Pierre started taking calls from from several different state agencies a few years ago, making it the first to do so in the South Dakota. To help facilitate that unique job and because of their work for the state, dispatchers work out of the George S. Mickelson Criminal Justice Center in Pierre. They have access to a wide variety of technologies, including handset location tracking through “Rapid SOS.”

Because of their wide range of duties, the dispatch center takes on a wide variety of calls. For example, they can answer one call on a hunting related crime hours away, to an after-hours power outage in central South Dakota.

“We took on not only the duties of the five county 911 area that we service,” said Cindy Gross, Central South Dakota Communications Center 911 Manager. “(But) Also about eighteen counties we dispatch for the Highway Patrol, Games Fish and Parks, Department of Transportation, and several other agencies.”

The inclement weather that South Dakota sees, particularly during the winter, shows how much coordination this dispatch center, and job, requires.

“If we need a sander or a plow somewhere, dispatch is the one that makes that call for us,” says Martin. “We get out there on the street and see what is needed, and they get tasked with multiple calls. If Pierre Police Department is asking for it (a plow or sander), Stanley County is probably asking for it and so is highway patrol. You’re getting multiple calls from multiple agencies, so these guys have to be on top of their game.”

The City of Pierre is currently hiring dispatchers to take on these unique job duties. You can find out more information about that and how to apply by clicking here.