EUREKA - The CHP Humboldt Communication Center is just one of 25 centers statewide that together, handle up to seven million 911 calls per year.
“We receive cellular 911's here. For part of Mendocino County, Humboldt County, Del Norte County. We go from the Oregon state line down to Willits to the Trinity County line,” Clare Norton, CHP Dispatch Supervisor of the Humboldt Communication Center, said.
You don’t see them often, but they are a vital part of any emergency response system.
“They are extremely valuable to us. They do a thankless job. A lot of the public doesn't see them because they're not out. They hear the voice. They have no idea who they're talking to. But there's actually a person on the other side of that phone that cares about people,” CHP Officer Matt Harvey said.
And now they are receiving recognition. The dispatch centers of the California Highway Patrol have received national accreditation for their standards of excellence.
“We work at our profession here. We work at maintaining a standard. We work at doing the best job we can. It is very difficult because we talk to citizens on the worst day of their lives,” Norton said.
CHP is one of the first two agencies in California to receive this accreditation from the commission on accreditation for law enforcement agencies.
CALEA is an organization that accredits law enforcement agencies, nation wide. On the enforcement side, education side, 911 calls in many different areas,” Officer Harvey explained.
“There was many, many steps that went into getting this accreditation with performance standards, training standards. Just a whole list of things we had to do to prove that we were worthy of this accreditation,” Norton said.
To meet accreditation, communication centers were analyzed on dispatcher’s speech, prioritizing of information, and accuracy documenting calls…standards they met or exceeded.
“We're out there in the uniform so the public sees us a lot but there's another side to the highway patrol and to law enforcement that the community doesn't see and this is a great recognition because I believe dispatchers need to be recognized for the job they do,” Officer Harvey said.