An inside look at a 911 call center

A look inside a 911 call center.

FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas - One local 911 call center agreed to let us inside to see exactly what happens.

Within the first few minutes of our visit, we listened as operators in the Ft. Bend County Sheriff’s 911 center handled a variety of calls.

“I’m going to tell you how to stop the bleeding okay?” said one operator to a caller.  “So listen carefully,” she added.

Another call concerned a baby found blue and not breathing.

“We can take minor calls, really extreme calls” said supervisor  Mindi Bartee.  “We can have semi-slow days to days where every phone blows up,” she added.

Bartee supervises operator trainees and says patience, politeness, and professional are hallmarks of their mission. One operator asked a caller repeatedly for a response until they finally answered.

“We don’t hang up on callers,” said Bartee.

Bartee says any pattern of hang ups on the part of an operator here shows up in periodic reports, so do any other problems detected by what she calls a multi-layered management plan.

“Most of our operators, when they first come in, we let them know you’re going to hear some things that are going to wear on you,” said Bartee.  “But we want you to take care of yourself mentally and physically,” she added.

She says everyone gets frustrated, but the caller’s needs come first no matter what.

“You just have to know that you’re the only person there at that time that can help that person,” said Bartee.  “So you have to be as calm as you can for the caller to get them the help they need and give them instructions to work through whatever situation they have,” she added.


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