You've heard me say for many years that when a person calls 9-1-1 there isn't a reporter or an activist on the other end of that call. There's a skilled, well-trained professional who receives the call and then acts to ensure help is on the way.

The dispatchers at the Toms River Police Department are our honorees for this week's Blue Friday.

A few weeks ago, my wife Jodi and I toured the Toms River PD Headquarters with our friend and Toms River PD PIO, Jillian Messina. On the tour we stopped in to visit the dispatchers and see the operations from the inside.

Incredible technology managed by talented professionals who take pride in their job and the role they serve in the community.

In 2022, 20 fulltime dispatchers and several part-timers handled approximately 166,600 emergency and non-emergency phone calls for police, fire and medical emergencies.

That’s an average of 13,900 calls a month.

The dispatcher’s job is to stay calm, keep the person on the other end of the phone calm, and gather as much information as possible to assist the police officers and make sure that the officers and first responders can respond in the most efficient and effective way possible.

Photo via Jillian Messina
Photo via Jillian Messina

Each day they come into work ready to be there for you in time of crisis. Within those calls, the dispatcher is also on the radio speaking with the responding officers.

Last year, there were more than 823,500 radio transmissions between our dispatchers and our officers.

At any given time, Toms River dispatchers are responsible for 40-50 patrol units in addition to undercover officers, narcotics teams, and park security units.

“Our dispatchers are the lifeline of the agency. They are typically the first public safety official our community makes contact with, many times under duress. Showing utmost dedication and compassion, our dispatchers provide the community with the unparalleled service for which the Toms River Police Department is known.” -Sgt. Dan Ruiz (Community Affairs Sergeant in charge of Dispatch)

Dispatchers use an integrated computer aided dispatching system they dispatch Police, Fire and EMS personnel to calls for service.

Photo via Jillian Messina
Photo via Jillian Messina

In addition, dispatchers use state and national systems for comprehensive checks ranging from warrants to criminal backgrounds. They also manage entries into the national crime system for lost, stolen, wanted and missing items and persons.

“To say we are grateful for all our dispatchers do for the Police Department and the community would be a vast understatement. They are literally our first line of defense in a crisis and we could not operate without them, they are a crucial element of our team and we appreciate them more than they know.” -Chief Mitchell Little

Thank you to all of the hero members of the Toms River communications team and all the dispatchers who help keep our communities safe across New Jersey.

NJ cracks down on polluters at these 9 sites

State environmental officials are working to get several property owners to clean up their acts around New Jersey, including in Middlesex, Mercer and Atlantic Counties.

Illegal dumping and gas and chemical contamination of water and soil are among the issues at hand in the state's lawsuits and requested court orders.

Seven lawsuits focused on "overburdened" communities address pollution in Camden, Trenton, Kearny, Secaucus, Edison, Bridgeton and Egg Harbor City, while two additional cases are based in Butler and Vineland.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Spadea. Any opinions expressed are Bill's own. Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., talkin’ Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015.

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