Some confusion surrounds the inconspicuous brick building nestled in the trees near the college’s main entrance.
Many students assume it’s a campus security center or another administration building, but in fact, it’s a 911 dispatch center.
The City Communication Center has been near the campus since Pierce College Puyallup consisted of a single building.
For about 10 years, 911 calls have been dispatched for the cities of Puyallup, Sumner and Bonney Lake from this building.
The call center is run 24 hours a day, all year long, and is staffed by 18 dispatchers and four managers.
In order to keep the call center running at all times, workers rotate 10- and 12-hour shifts. Managers examine call statistics to determine the number of people needed on duty.
“Crime doesn’t necessarily have certain times or days,” said Tim Hannah, manager of the communication center, “but our busier times are afternoon and early evening.”
The dispatchers’ job is a stressful one full of multitasking. Each dispatcher is stationed in front of five computers, each with a designated purpose. When a call comes in, a dispatcher uses all five screens to check maps, report the incident and then dispatch the call to the appropriate station. With so much riding on their expediency, dispatchers need to be quick and efficient, Hannah said.
“Because a lot of dispatch centers operate uniquely, most of the training is on the job,” Hannah said. “It can be a high stress job because it’s very critical in nature.”
While the job is high stress, the communication center hasn’t failed to provide fast and efficient service.
According to its statistics, 95 percent of the 40,000 calls dispatched yearly are answered within the first 10 seconds.
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning news media of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2018. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube @thepuyalluppost