IMMOKALEE — Seminole Police Department Capt. Mary Negrey understands the power of 911 dispatch.
“It’s a comforting voice … the highest level of service … it’s time saved,” Negrey said.
In mid-March, the Seminole Public Safety Department, led by Police Chief William Latchford, opened the Immokalee Dispatch Center at the direction of Tribal Council. The space, at 1110 South First St., is equipped with a high-tech computer-aided dispatch system to serve residents and employees in the tight-knit community and scores of workers and guests at the Seminole Casino Hotel Immokalee.
Previously, calls from Immokalee were routed through the Big Cypress dispatch office before reaching an on-duty officer. Though only seconds will be shaved from the police response time, Negrey said, when it comes to emergency situations seconds count.
“There are the seconds to actually call 911, then the caller explains the situation – where you are, what is going on. Then a few more seconds for the dispatcher to relay the information,” Negrey said.
In cases when fire rescue is needed, the police will respond in tandem with units from Collier County EMS/Fire Service. If police arrive on the scene before fire rescue, the police are trained to administer first responder first aid.
Seminole Tribe of Florida Fire Rescue is present in Hollywood, Big Cypress and Brighton. All other communities rely on county services.
SPD is training four dispatchers to cover Immokalee calls. Currently, one trainee is serving with a full-time dispatcher, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Ultimately, the four trainees will be employed on the reservation around the clock, seven days a week.
Negrey said Hollywood, Big Cypress and Brighton dispatch centers already exist to deploy police day and night in those reservations, but the additional five tribal communities and the Tribe’s Coconut Creek casino property are also protected by on-duty officers.
Dispatchers, also called public safety communicators, must complete six months of training to earn seven certifications. The certifications include CPR, Emergency Medical Dispatcher, Public Safety Telecommunicator 1, Fire Service Dispatcher Communications, State of Florida Dispatcher Certification and Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Criminal Justice Information Systems (CJIS) Certification.
For emergencies on the Immokalee Reservation, dial 911. For non-emergency, police-related issues, call 239-657-6956.