The Parsons Police Department operates its own 911 Dispatch Center. This allows for the front lobby of the police department to remain open 24-hours-a-day. Dispatchers are also crucial in monitoring the CCTV feed from the agency's 6 cell Lock-Up. A Lock-Up can hold a prisoner for up to 30 days while a Jail can hold a sentenced prisoner for up to a year.
Parsons Police Dispatch is busy and its on track to beat the 2021-year record of handling 34,724 incoming phone calls while dispatching 25,625 incidents along with answering 1,935 9-1-1 calls. Dispatch also greeted an estimated 4,500 persons who visited the police front lobby.
"The nerve center of the Police department is our dispatch center," says Lt Jason Ludwig. "Marti Shields is our Dispatch Director, and we work together to ensure that calls are received and dispatched, but there is a host of infrastructure to maintain. Transmitters, storm sirens, connection to the state radio system, computers and video monitoring are costly and time-consuming. Dispatchers not only manage calls and dispatching of police, but they are the first contact citizens have when they come to the lobby of the police department."
Shields has been on a continuous training cycle with new dispatchers. The competition among 9-1-1 centers to recruit and retain dispatchers is just as fierce as it is for departments recruiting police officers.
The complete remodel and update to the Parsons dispatch center in 2020 brought the center into the 21st century.
"The upgrades to the dispatch center have been well received by our staff. New equipment updated
dispatch stations, new wall mounted monitors and upgrades to our dispatch software make the work environment so much better," said Shields. "It can be an extremely busy part of the police department where dispatchers are truly the 1st Responders. 1st Responders - it usually all starts right here."