Behind 911: Dispatchers Share Details On Process

Updated: 03/17/2014 5:38 PM
Created: 03/17/2014 4:40 PM
By: Laurie Stribling

If you're ever in trouble, you rely on 911 dispatchers to send help. Your worst day is their everyday.

"In order to accomplish the job, you have to be focused," dispatcher Ryan Stauber said. "You never know what you're going to get when you push that answer button."

While the emergency service is reliable, how much do you know about the process? A 911 Citizens Academy next week will educate community members about how it all works.

"We've been working on the Citizens Academy for a year and half now," Stauber said.

Stauber and dispatcher Dan Johnston said there are many misconceptions about 911 services. Johnston said people assume dispatchers know where callers are.

"When landline calls come in, we do at times get the name, address and everything," Johnston said. "With cell phones, not so much."

Johnston said a majority of calls come from cell phones. They sometimes only give a general area, but not an exact location.

Johnston said some people also misuse 911.

"We've got quite a few people looking for rides," Johnston said. "It's like, 'No, we're not really a cab service'."

To better educate people on how to use 911 and to make the process more efficient, there will be a 911 Citizens Academy on March 24.

It's in the Public Safety Building in Duluth from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. There will be two others. One in Duluth on April 16 and another in Mt. Iron on April 24.

"There's a lot of questions out there and we want to provide some answers," Stauber said.

To register, call Carrie Borman at (218) 726-2925 or email

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