Behind the scenes at Clackamas Co. 911 Dispatch - KPTV - FOX 12

Behind the scenes at Clackamas Co. 911 Dispatch

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From major crimes, to medical emergencies, and yes, prank calls - Clackamas County 911 dispatchers have to be ready for it all.

“911 what’s the location of your emergency?"

This is just one out of hundreds of calls Clackamas County 911 dispatch will get tonight, coming in from Wilsonville, all the way to Mt. Hood.

Tucked away in the corner of a county building in Oregon City, are the faces on the other end of the line when you dial 911.

“You’re getting people at their very worst and you have to be strong for them,” says dispatcher, Ben Postlewait.

Postlewait has been answering emergency calls for the last nine years, “I don’t know that there is necessarily a “regular” day."

Postlewait says it's the excitement of the job that keeps him coming back.

“It’s a fun job, it’s dynamic. Every day is completely different - you really don’t ever see the same stuff twice,” Postlewait tells Fox 12.

But over the years, Postlewait has seen plenty of dispatchers come and go. Those who can't handle the stressful nature of the job.

“It can take a toll on you until you learn to deal with it. I mean everyone has their own coping way,” says Postlewait.

Four 11-hour days on, then four days off. Postlewait says the schedule can be pretty taxing as well.

“We’re one of the only industries or businesses that’s open 24/7 everyday, including the holidays, so you have to be able to cope with that, and have a family and friends that understand that," Postlewait tells us.

But he says the relationships made on the job, make it all worth it.

“You become attached to the responders out on the road. I know names and voices and behavioral habits. There are certain officers who I talk to everyday, who could walk in the door and I wouldn’t recognize them," says Postlewait.

Like Sergeant Brian Jensen, who is in regular communication with dispatchers.

“It’s reassuring to turn on that radio right when you start your shift and hear that voice you know is going to be there, no matter what, for the next 10 hours. They’re going to help you, they care for you, and they have the same goal in mind, which is to serve the public and get home safely,” says Sergeant Brian Jensen, of Clackamas County.

Clackamas County is looking to fill more seats at the 911 Emergency Operations Center, so if you think you have what it takes, apply here.

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