An inside look at what it's like to be a Shawnee Co. 911 dispatcher

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Monday marks the beginning of National Public Safety Telecommunicators week.

In the spirit of the week 13 NEWS caught up with Melanie Bergers, the Shawnee County dispatch communications director to see what it’s like to be a Shawnee County dispatcher.

"We are the primary answering point for all 911 calls in Shawnee County. We take approximately a quarter million 911 and administrative phone calls a day," Bergers said.

"We dispatch for two large law-enforcement agencies, three municipal police departments and eight fire departments."

Dispatchers go through a lot more than you might think, from answering emergency calls from the public, to being the lifeline for an officer in danger.

"It can weigh on you very much, it can be very emotional. The calls that they take, people don't call 911 for happy reasons," Bergers said.

"Moms calling and saying that their baby's not breathing ... or a call from a child and they found that their parent is not breathing. Those are the worst calls."

This week is national Public Safety Telecommunicator Week.

It's a week to recognize the hard work 911 dispatchers and telecommunicators do every day.

"The dispatchers really are incredible ... what they do is extremely special," Bergers said.

"Every single person in this room, every single person in this division loves what they do ... the people in here really have servant hearts. They are all about public safety, they're all about helping the responders and the citizens that we serve."

The dispatch center has been understaffed in recent years - but Bergers says on Monday, they were actually training a few new hires.

If you're interested in joining the dispatch team visit the Shawnee County job posting website.