Hennepin County 911 Dispatchers Get Free Lunch
Hennepin County 911 dispatch and jail workers in Plymouth got a nice, tasty show of appreciation on Wednesday. The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Foundation teamed up with a Twin Cities restaurant to provide meals for the workers.
“This was just a really wonderful opportunity that I’m really grateful I was able to participate in, to supply some meals as a way of saying thank you and a way of trying to reduce the stress a little bit of some of our local first responders,” said Mary Radtke Sturm, treasurer for the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Foundation.
Regular citizens also donated nearly $1,000 toward the effort.
“This is showing our dispatchers how much we care,” said Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson. “The communications is the number one priority for the Sheriff’s Office. We can’t do what we do without them.”
Thigh Times Birdhouse in Minneapolis prepared the meals and offered a discount in order to reach more law enforcement personnel. The meal included its signature ‘chicken wrib’ – a chicken thigh that looks like a wing and eats like a rib – and its house fries.
“We want to be there to say thank you to those who are so essential,” said Jared Brewington, chef at the Thigh Times Birdhouse. “They didn’t have a choice the very next day or the day after that or the day after that. They go to work and save people’s lives.”
COVID-19 Changes How Dispatchers Do Their Job
Hennepin County emergency management officials say the response to COVID-19 has changed how dispatchers do their jobs. Their schedules have changed requiring longer shifts to reduce exposure and overlap with their colleagues. Dispatchers are currently working 12-hour shifts. It was 10-hour shifts previously.
“As of this time we haven’t had anyone that’s been exposed or sick so we’d like to keep it that
way. We’ve also assigned seats, reduced movement in the center. We’re doing cleaning when they arrive and when they leave. We’re issuing keyboards for them if they choose,” said Tony Martin, Hennepin County emergency communications director.
Dispatcher Cindy Galland said she’s adjusted to the new schedule.
“The county has been tremendous with giving us the hand sanitizers, the face masks if we wanted them. Doing this new schedule which is a little upending to some people, I’m game for anything. That’s what we agreed to do when we took this job. We knew that it was a job that we could not ever work remotely from home,” said Galland.
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