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Dispatchers a Vital Link in Emergency Response

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FAYETTEVILLE — Policework is teamwork. The men and women on the streets rely on eachother to stay safe. But they're not alone. Sometimes it's the personthey cannot see that really makes a difference. It's a voice that reachesout to save them.

Police officers help us and look out for one another. But they often gethelp from a different source that's just a call away. The people behindthe voices you never see are often the people you'll hear when you're mostin need.

"It's the link between the public to the police officers to the rescue tothe fire department," says dispatcher Rene Mimiefee.

Dispatchers are responsible for calling out emergency units, but they alsoplay a big role in seeing that law enforcement officers stay safe.

Last week Officer Jason Sondergaard learned just how true that is.He was chasing a man for trespassing, when the man turned and attackedhim.

At that point Sondergaard was on the ground trying to reach his radio, butit had been knocked loose.

"I just couldn't breathe," Sondergaard recalls. "I was getting to the point that I was getting scared I was going to pass out."

The dispatchers say it's all part of the job.

"When I come in here, I want those officers to go home every evening ormorning to their families," says dispatcher Corrine Washington.

To the officers out in the field, they're the true lifesavers.

Dispatchers are trained to check in with officers on a regular basis.They usually call them every three minutes to make sure the situation hasn'tchanged.