Valley dispatchers honored for lifesaving efforts

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Dispatchers answer the calls no one wants to make.

Life-changing trauma is often on the other end of the line.

"A lot of the times they call in and we are their last resort, they don't know who to call," says Elaura Castro.

Day in and day out, Castro and her coworkers answer countless calls at the communications center, located inside the Fresno County Sheriff's Department.

They can be as simple as a noise complaint or a matter of life and death.

"We have to remain calm, but it doesn't mean that we never feel those emotions when we are dealing and talking with the public," says another dispatcher, Reyna Martinez.

That calm concern, compassion, and dedication of dispatchers is being recognized during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, putting faces to the voices who summon help in seconds.

"Without us, there would be no calls for service," says Castro.



For Castro, one of the toughest parts of the job is not knowing a caller's outcome.

"We take that call for service and we stay on the line for maybe until deputies get there and once they get there our call ends and our part so to say ends," she says.

Reyna Martinez who's served as a dispatcher for six years says when the pandemic hit they experienced a change in calls.

More people called about others violating CDC guidelines.

Now calls are following an expected rise as the weather warms up.

But rain or shine, dispatchers will always be there, appreciated by their colleagues and the community.

"It is nice to be recognized for what we do and it is not easy work, but it is rewarding," says Castro.

There's always a need for more dispatchers since the communications center operates 24 hours a day, year-round.

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