LPD Dispatch Gives Inside Look Into Operations

LUBBOCK,TX - "We're the true first responders because we get the call first. Officers, firefighters, they're not going to go out without talking to us first," Lubbock Police Department Communication Coordinator Melissa Orosco said about the Dispatch Operation Department.

Lubbock's dispatch office answers every 911 call within the city limits. At least nine operators are on staff each hour, all assigned to a specific region of town. 

"We answer about 35 to 38,000 calls a month, and that's a lot for this area," Orosco said.

Orosco has worked with Lubbock dispatch for the last 20 years. Working her way up from a 911 operator, to trainer, to now communication coordinator.

"This job is not for everybody," Orosco said. "If you get too involved in things and you can't pull yourself out of it, then you're going to have a problem with not getting closure on a call. Because they don't get closure here."

They said a crucial part of their training is learning those psychological skills to handle adverse situations.

"We get them at their worst," Orosco said. "We don't talk to people on their good day. We get them screaming at us, yelling at us, and that takes time to get used to that. So we have to calm them down. It's a process."

A process not only for the citizen in need, but for the citizen dispatch operator.

"It can have a big effect on you," Orosco said.  "Because you can't be prepared for every call you take, and there are some calls that will trigger something in you."
Orosco said that they receive an increase in calls starting in spring into the warmer months. She added Easter, Mother's Day, Halloween, and summer nights are their busiest times. 
"These people here do a lot for the city and it's a very thankless job," Orosco said. 

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