Submitted by Presiding Commissioner Marilyn Ruestman
Among our unsung heroes of Newton County is our 911/Central Dispatch Center. They are always on duty 24/7 and are really our first line of defense. Our director, Vickie Bayless, brings 19 years of experience and knowledge. This month we want to say “thank you” and tell you a little about them.
With a staff of 19 full-time and 2 part-time employees, the Newton County Central Dispatch Center answered 192,514 calls in 2013. Operating 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, they serve the 59,000+ citizens of Newton County. They answer emergency and non-emergency calls as well as dispatch for 10 fire departments, 5 law enforcements agencies, and Newton County Ambulance District. They dispatched nearly 67,000 calls in 2013.
The Newton County Central Dispatch Center was formed in 1995 and began operating out of the Newton County Courthouse. In 2010, Dispatch moved to the former National Guard Armory in Neosho after it was remodeled. The move provided many upgrades and space to grow. In addition to Dispatch, the center houses the Warrant’s Department and 911 addressing.
Dispatchers maintain certifications in CPR, Haz-Mat Awareness, National Incident Management Systems (NIMS), Missouri Uniform Law Enforcement Systems (MULES), Emergency Telecommunicator Course (ETC), Emergency Medical (EMD), and Fire Dispatching (EFD), and they must receive continuing education throughout their employment.
In 1994 a Congressional Resolution designated the second full week in April each year as National Telecommunicator’s Week. Each year we honor the hard work and dedication of these every-day, behind-the-scenes heroes. Newton County Dispatchers will be honored with achievement certificates, fun casual dress days, barbeque, and will close out the week with cake and punch.
Again, we cannot thank Vickie and the Dispatch crew enough.