Centralized call center vital to disseminating information

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Meet the Dispatchers New Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office dispatchers are, from left, Airicka Fields, Lacey Crow and Crystal Foshee.

Juanice Gray
Having the Police Department and Sheriff’s Department dispatchers in one room proved invaluable during a recent incident on Keyser Avenue.
According to a report released by Natchitoches Police Department, “On July 15 around 1:14 p.m., Natchitoches Police Department officers were dispatched to a business in the 900 block of Keyser Avenue in reference to a disturbance in the store. While officers were heading to the business they were notified by Police Communication Officers that a vehicle was shooting at another car on Parkway Drive near South Drive.”
That verbiage is important because had the dispatchers not been in the same room, the incident may not have had the same conclusion, arrests made and no injuries.

This article published in the July 23, 2022, print edition. To subscribe call 318-352-3618.

911 Director Kim Tolliver and Deputy Assistant to the Homeland Security Director Lamar McGaskey said at the 911 Commission meeting Tuesday that NPD dispatcher Christine Stackhouse took a call from a city landline and relayed information about the critical moment to officers. Additional calls came in via cell phones, which were routed to the sheriff’s office dispatchers, although they originated inside the city limits.
Stackhouse heard the calls, communicated with the fellow dispatchers and relayed the information to first responders efficiently allowing officers to have the information they needed to apprehend the suspects.
In regular business, Tolliver provided call volume for June.
In June, NPSO took a total of 1,377 calls. Of those, 59 were abandoned calls giving them a 4.28% rate this month and total actual calls taken, 1,318. They also took a total of 4,384 administrative calls. Of those, 2,360 were incoming and 1,998 outgoing with 26 of those abandoned. Of the 59 abandoned, NPSO called 39 back giving them a total of 5,761 calls for June. 
NPD took a total of 330 calls. Of those, three were abandoned giving them a 0.91% rate this month and total actual calls taken 327. They also took a total of 3,891 administrative calls. Of those, 50 were abandoned. Of those, 2,828 were inbound and 1,013 was outbound. Of the three abandoned, NPD was able to call two back giving them a total of 4,221 calls. Some calls are from burner phones that do not display usable numbers. 
NPSO answered their calls in less than 10 seconds 97.82% of the time and less than 15 seconds 98.55% of the time. 
NPD answered in less than 10 seconds 97.58% of the time and less than 15 seconds 99.70% of the time. 
“I also ran a six month call summary of both agencies and have noted that the call volume has decreased steadily by the month for both agencies. March and April were both agencies busiest months,” Tolliver said.
The District processed nine new addresses in June and ordered nine new road signs.
In the aftermath of the loss of NPD officer Brian Olliff Saturday, commissioners discussed the toll it takes on first responders, which include the dispatchers. Olliff made his call for assistance via his police radio. All first responders have resources available to assist them with therapy needs following traumatic situations.
Rebecca Jones with Johnson, Thomas and Cunningham said the wireline revenue for June was $11,515 and wireless revenue totaled $24, 693. Expenses for the month were $27,030. She advised the commission wireline revenue is decreasing. Tolliver said she and other directors were addressing their greatest financial risk factor, the loss of wireless revenue due to the lack of a comprehensive list of providers. She said wireless companies come in and out of the parish, change their names and also operate under the umbrella of other companies creating a logistical nightmare in terms of accurately collecting the revenue.
Commissioners heard audit reports and the financial report. The district’s finances and business practices are in order.