Seguin PD installs exercise equipment in emergency dispatch

SEGUIN, TX - The Seguin Police Department encourages officers and staff to stay healthy, and active. However, emergency dispatchers in the city’s Communication 9-1-1 Division usually have to sit at their call stations for eight hours or more a day. The solution: a treadmill and recumbent bike they can use while taking calls for police, fire and medical services.

The Communications 911 Division Call Center is a fast-paced, time critical place to work. These civilian dispatchers must remain calm and collected while they deal with potentially dangerous situations.

“They are tied to their consoles… We enter all the information so everything is documented. Therefore, you really can’t leave your desk… They get two 15-minute breaks or a 30-minute break, but no one ever gets that because it gets busy” said Shannon Dukes, Communications Supervisor.

Dukes said she reads a lot about other emergency 9-1-1 call centers in several publications. She learned that a few of them had installed exercise equipment for dispatch. She also learned that exercising while taking calls could reduce stress and nervous energy.

“While you’re walking, you’re able to concentrate more and multi-tasking can improve” said Dukes.

Dukes took the idea to Police Chief Kevin Kelso, and who supported it. Now, the emergency call center has two options for staff: a treadmill and recumbent bike. Both can be used at the consoles, instead of remaining seated during long shifts.

“It’s going to cut back on sick leave, cut back on mental stress and strain, which is a big thing in dispatching. We have a lot of stress. We got it [the equipment]. We’ve tried it and they love it” said Duke.

The center is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year and is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment including a computer-aided dispatch system, VHF radio system, Enhanced 911 phone system and a National Crime Computer.

Posted by: Morgan Ash