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Red River Regional Dispatch reflects on crazy 48 hours

The center dealt with three shootings and a fire across both sides of the Red River, on top of their usual workload, on both Sunday, March 21 and Monday, March 22.

A Red River Regional dispatcher works at a console full of monitors Tuesday, March 23. Tanner Robinson / WDAY

FARGO — As the first shots were fired in Moorhead Sunday night, March 21, dispatchers at the Red River Regional Dispatch Center sent police officers on their first of four total emergency calls.

In the same night, they dealt with another shooting across the river in West Fargo.

Seven dispatchers from the RRRDC took calls that night, while manager Mary Phillippi helped lead the charge.

"In the dispatch environment, multitasking is every day," Phillippi said.

The multitasking continued Monday, March 22, with a fire at the old Mid-America Steel building in Fargo, and a robbery turned shooting in West Fargo.


Phillippi said along with sending out the initial crews, dispatchers have to keep on the pulse with both their eyes and ears, in case they need backup.

Mary Phillippi, the manager of the Red River Regional Dispatch Center, checks her emails at her desk on Tuesday, March 23. Tanner Robinson / WDAY

"They might need Salvation Army or Red Cross, they might need additional engines, they might need a Rapid Intervention Team to come in," she said.

Phillippi said the types of calls, whether it be a fire or shooting, among other incidents, can sometimes be a pressure test.

"There's also the stress of callers that are really distraught," she said. "I mean, emotionally, that stress can impact our dispatchers."

This is why Phillippi says the Peer Assistance Crisis Team — a team of dispatchers with specialized training — and the Employee Assistance Program are so important, as are other counseling resources available to them.

"We hire people that care, so people that care are going to have reactions to bad things that happen, and we expect that," Phillippi said.


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Tanner Robinson is a producer for First News on WDAY-TV.
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