The week of April 8-14, 2012 is National Telecommunicator Week, intended to honor the first link in the chain of emergency police, fire and medical responses. On Thursday April 12, 2012, from 9am to 4pm the Washington State Patrol Communications Division will have a display of equipment used by dispatchers in the State Patrol and public education material for calling 9-1-1.

If you’ve ever been the victim of a crime, been in a collision, reported a fire or needed emergency medical help, you’ve called 9-1-1 and been helped by a telecommunicator.

At the Washington State Patrol they are known officially as Communications Officers. Other agencies use the more formal term of Telecommunicator, or similar titles. The common term is “dispatcher:” the person who answers the phone or radio and sends help where it’s needed.