The Upper Missouri River Regional Dispatch Center celebrated the week of April 12 through 18 as National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week.

This week, sponsored by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials International and celebrated annually, honors the thousands of men and women who respond to emergency calls, dispatch emergency professionals and equipment, and render life-saving assistance to the world’s citizens.

According to Derrick Ruble, operations manager at the center, this year’s activities, taking into consideration COVID-19 restrictions, included each dispatcher receiving a 911 t-shirt, gifts, games, meals, and finishing out the week with root beer floats.

Hula Grill, C-Cups, CarTunz, Badlands Lock Pros, and Mondak Computer Repair also joined in the appreciation with the donation of gifts cards and food.

“In regards to COVID-19, the UMRRDC has been proactive and a leader within the State of North Dakota in its implementation of specific questioning of all callers to 911, procedures, and coordinating with local emergency responders to assist in reducing their potential exposure to COVID-19,” Ruble said. “Protocols have been implemented within the Law Enforcement Center to reduce the exposure risk to Dispatchers due to limited ability for 4 Dispatchers on-duty to distance themselves in their 350 sq. ft. of working space.”

Progress on redeveloping the former Sloulin Field International Airport Terminal Building into the new Upper Missouri River Regional Dispatch Center is progressing well with an anticipated completion date of fall 2021.

In the interim until the new center is complete to help with the processing of the increasing number of 911 calls and calls for service, work is underway to equip a temporary 911 center in the Law Enforcement Center with additional workstations that will transition to a permanent backup center later.

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