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Dispatchers need to know areaPosted Wednesday, January 9, 2008, at 9:55 AM
One point to add to the Bedford County Communications Center dispatching situation:
Last Friday, Duck River Electric needed a Bedford County deputy to help direct traffic around a work area on Coble Road, west of Shelbyville off State Highway 64.
The Com Center (not city) dispatcher instead sent Shelbyville city police to Coble Circle, off South Cannon Boulevard, before correcting herself with on-air apologies a few minutes later and notifying deputies and city police, both of whom were already questioning the dispatch.
One major clue the dispatcher should have picked up on: Duck River Electric doesn't handle power lines inside Shelbyville city limits.
I suspect one problem at the Com Center is that dispatchers are being hired who aren't familiar with Bedford County's sometimes confusing maze of roads (too many similar names).
I'm not saying every hire should be a "local." But, on the other hand, familiarity can be helpful.
Emergency dispatchers have a tough task. Hopefully the problems at the Com Center can be resolved. Lives depend on their employees' performance.
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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.
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