High schoolers learn how to answer 911 calls
SATSUMA - A handful of high school students are getting hands-on experience in courtrooms, jails and 911 call centers in Livingston Parish.
When someone dials 911 every second counts to save a life. That's what the high schoolers are learning while listening in on real 911 calls through a a criminal justice class partnership between the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office and the Literacy and Technology Center in Walker.
"Well just thinking how I would feel in their position, what I would want to be told and just trying to be time efficient and stay calm and keep the other people calm so you can help them do what they have to do in that situation to save someone's life," said Denham Springs senior Brittany Case.
There's a need for experienced dispatchers across the Baton Rouge region. In East Baton Rouge Parish, the 911 call center is looking to hire four dispatchers to fill its staff.
The Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office recently hired one graduate from the internship program. Communications Director Cpt. Jack Varnado says that dispatcher came into the job prepared to answer emergency calls.
"It's a little bit exhilarating to be able to know that you're the one that's going to help this person, get the resources out to that person to help them, and it's putting your training to use just as the police officers, the sheriff's deputies and firefighters and EMTs do everyday," he said.
Some of the students in the course hope to follow in the footsteps of one of the program's success stories.
"You know, every call you never know what you're going to get, so I would to do it because of helping people," said Case. "I feel like in a situation I would want someone on the other side of the line to be so serious and want to help me. So this job is very serious to me."
The students are certified in 911 dispatch after completing the course.