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This week is Go Blue week. A dedicated time to honor and recognize law enforcement officers and first responders. We cannot honor and recognize our law enforcement officers and first responders without giving credit to all 911 dispatchers. The Watertown Regional 9-1-1 Center serves all residents of the City of Watertown and Codington, Hamlin, Grant, Deuel, Day and Clark counties with full emergency and non-emergency dispatch services. These services include fire, medical, law enforcement, animal control, severe storm warning, utility, public works, and general information services. It is the third largest 911 center in South Dakota, spanning six counties and over 62,000 residents and has a total of 14 full-time employees.

KXLG attended the 9-1-1 advisory board meeting this week and received an overview of 9-1-1 calls during the severe crisis on May 12and storm. 9-1-1 Director Troy VanDusen shared the overwhelming number of calls received:

The immense amount of calls received by the 9-1-1 call center during the storm was the highest number of calls the center has received so far.

Troy VanDusen explained to the Council how they decide whether to activate the tornado or storm sirens. He said: “We’ll assess it on a case-by-case basis and if a call comes in and someone says they’re looking at a tornado, we’ll blast the sirens.”

At the end of the 9-1-1 Advisory Council meeting, members were invited to make a statement. Chief Tim Toomey told officers and dispatchers at the meeting, “Job well done.” Troy VanDusen ended the meeting with this:

Click here to see what happened behind the scenes at the 911 call center during the May 12 storm.