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4/8/2014 10:17:00 AM
Slice of life: Williams Police Department Dispatcher Sam Espinoza
Sam Espinoza waits for a call in the Williams Police Department Dispatch Department. Ryan Williams/WGCN
Sam Espinoza waits for a call in the Williams Police Department Dispatch Department. Ryan Williams/WGCN
Williams-Grand Canyon News

WILLIAMS, Ariz. - The Williams News recently sat down with Williams Police Department Dispatcher Sam Espinoza to find out what a typical day at the station is like.

How long have you had this job?

21 years.

How did you get involved with the department?

Way back when, the existing chief was a friend of mine and actually offered me a position as a reserve officer. So I was a reserve officer for a year and then a full-time opening came up in dispatch and I took that back in '93.

What's a typical day like for you?

There is no such thing as a typical day for me, because I don't have a specific job. I just do whatever is needed. It's anything from fleet management to records. I do all our calibration checks on the intoxilyzers. So I testify in court when I get subpoenaed for that. I help out in records also.

I cover dispatch when they're sick or I'm shorthanded like I am now. I had two dispatchers retire last year. So we hired one and she just got trained and we just hired another one and she's still in training. So I'm sitting back here, and I like it back here. I enjoy it. This was my passion for the longest time.

It's enjoyable. There's always something going on. Sitting back here you deal with lobby traffic, phone traffic, officer traffic, so you've got to be able to multitask.

Do you also handle 911 calls?

I am the 911 coordinator and project manager. I've got five dispatchers.

When I first started here we just had basic 911. We had a big dinosaur, we just had a button that we pushed. And then as I got into the supervisor role back in 2007 I think, I got enhanced 911 into our system, which brings up the caller address, the caller number and whatnot.

That was a major project. It took us almost seven years to get that accomplished because we had to readdress all of the 635 prefixes. With the help of the state, they were able to grant us money so that we could do that project. And then having to coordinate with the county GIS people and everybody that was involved in it, we were able to get enhanced 911 into Williams.

What are you working on now?

Now the project I'm working on is getting phase two, which is wireless 911. And what that will do is it will enable us to pick up the carrier of the cell phone and the phone number of the cell phone.

It's like on this screen it shows who called us last on 911, their address, their phone number, it tells us who our responding units would be, if it's EMS, fire, the sheriff's office. It all depends on what that is.

So that's a project I'm working on now, and hopefully I'll have that completed in the fall. I'm working closely with Flag PD, Page PD, Grand Canyon, the Sheriff's Office, so that we can streamline where all these cell phone calls route to and whatnot.

How many 911 calls do you get on average?

It varies. It can depend on what's going on, what the weather situation is, and the time of year also has a lot to do with it.

I just sent my state 911 report down to them and July seems like the busiest time for some reason. Those were our highest numbers of 911 calls. In July we usually get anywhere from 50 to a couple hundred sometimes.

You've got people that want to report accidents on I-40 and then one person reports it and people just keep calling in so we have to try to gather as much information as we can.

What's the best part of your job?

Just knowing that I make a difference when somebody calls 911 or whatever the case may be on the phone for help.

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