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THE HISTORY OF PLATTE COUNTY COMMUNICATIONS

Switchboard Operator

The first dispatchers in Platte County were operators from the telephone company. When a call was received the operator would flip a switch to a light positioned on top of the old “First State Bank” building, which is now where Wells Fargo Bank is located. When the on duty officer saw the light, he would go in and receive the call.

In the early 1960’s dispatch was located in City Hall in Wheatland, where the Wheatland Volunteer Fire Department is now. It was later moved to the Platte County court house main floor in a “closet”. In the 1970’s, after the east addition was built on to the court house, dispatch found its home there.

The use of 911 was made available to Wheatland and Glendo residents in the late 1960’s to early 1970’s. It wasn’t until July 15, 1992 that 911 was implemented in the towns of Chugwater and Guernsey.

The 911 industry has experienced explosive growth over the last ten years. Technological advances such as Enhanced 911, phase I and phase II, and cellular phone service has increased use of pre-arrival instructions. This has enabled us to realize an almost “zero” response time, better facilitating aid to those in need and increasing the likelihood of a positive outcome.

The role of the dispatcher has also changed dramatically. The term dispatch means literally “to send”. However, today’s communications personnel do so much more. Once considered simply a clerical position, dispatch professionals are now recognized as the first responders on the scene of any crime, fire or medical emergency. No l onger “just a dispatcher”, these highly trained professionals are protecting callers and responders, preserving evidence and saving lives every day.

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