9-1-1 Regional Call Center Tour

Thirty-five retirees were treated to an amazing tour of the Santa Cruz Regional 9-1-1 call center in De Laveaga Park on two days, January 28 and 29, 2016.

Tammy Spath, the Administrative Supervisor and former dispatcher, along with another experienced dispatcher led our group. Both were incredibly well-informed and shared interesting anecdotes about the calls they field and the services they provide. We learned about the technology challenges involved in receiving cell phone calls: landlines are stationary but cell phones can be anywhere, often making caller location identification difficult. The dispatchers are also anticipating a future challenge: receiving 911 text messages.

We were given a tour of the facility including the training room for new recruits, the fully-equipped lunch/break room (since employees spend their entire work day at the facility), and the communication center or “floor” where calls are received. In addition to the tour and informative presentation, the most interesting portion of the tour was listening in on actual 911 calls. The dispatchers sit at state of the art ergonomic work stations logging in long days (10 to 12 hour shifts with additional overtime hours). The center operates 24/7. The phones rang non-stop while we were there. It is clear that the dispatchers and staff are an extremely dedicated and hard-working group.

The Santa Cruz center responds to both non-emergency and emergency calls. The Regional Center serves the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office, the San Benito County Sheriff's Office, and the police departments for the cities of Santa Cruz, Watsonville, Capitola, and Hollister. Santa Cruz Regional 9-1-1 also provides services to 11 fire agencies, American Medical Response West (the local paramedic and ambulance transport provider), and County Animal Control Services. Scotts Valley Police and UCSC have their own 911 services.

Participants suggested that this tour be repeated annually!

Retirees at the 9-1-1 Call Center