LIHU‘E — County dispatchers moved into a newly renovated communications center at the Lihu‘e Kaua‘i Police Department headquarters Wednesday.
For the past three months, as renovations and upgrades were underway, dispatchers worked from a temporary location while continuing to service all calls uninterrupted through 911 and the non-emergency lines.
The $178,000 renovation, made possible by funds from the State 911 Board, included new flooring, new dispatcher consoles, a fresh coat of paint and a new video wall system.
“This renovation was much-needed, and I’m so grateful to everyone who worked on getting it completed as quickly as possible. They did a great job,” said Communications Center Sgt. Stacy Perreira in a county press release.
“I am also thankful to those who made the funding possible and, most importantly, to the dispatchers who were able to work seamlessly throughout this transition.”
KPD has 19 full-time dispatchers who answer calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The dispatchers’ individual time of service range from more than 23 years to around six months.
KPD’s Communications Section is the fourth-largest public-safety answering point in the state, and serves as the PSAP for all emergency service calls on Kaua‘i, including police, fire, medics, lifeguards and park rangers.
The communications center also is a consolidated dispatch that responds to incoming calls of service related to the U.S. Navy Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands and state Department of Land and Natural Resources.
“During natural disasters, we are the hub of all calls,” said Perriera. “It’s a job that requires skill and an ability to communicate with a wide range of people, some of whom are experiencing the most critical and traumatic moments of their lives.”
The total number of calls received by dispatchers this year is nearly 112,000, almost 43,000 of which were 911 calls. In 2018 and 2019, the total number of calls received each year was almost 150,000. In 2018, about 53,000 were 911 calls, and in 2019 about 62,000 were 911 calls.
The Communications Section is divided into three primary categories — call takers who receive all non-emergency calls, radio dispatchers who dispatch all police-related calls, and emergency dispatchers, who receive all 911 calls for police, fire and medics.
KPD’s dispatchers are cross-trained to handle all of these categories.
The public is encouraged to call the non-emergency line, 241-1711, for all inquiries that are not fire or medical emergencies or crimes in progress.
Continue to call 911 in the event of an active emergency. Individuals may also text to 911, an emergency service provided to all mobile users in the state that allows someone to use their activated cell phone to contact the 911 center without having to place a phone call.