Dear Editor,

Yesterday I was giving a tour of the dispatch center to the new County Administrator/Con-troller, Moses Sanzo, and Jackie Arnold, the CFO. As we were wrapping up the tour around 2 p.m., the severe storm hit Lapeer County. They stayed in dispatch for maybe 10 minutes longer while they waited for the heavy wind and rain to abate before leaving. As they were waiting, we had two dispatchers and a dispatch supervisor on duty. I knew what was about to happen, and I grabbed my own headset, sat down at a console, and logged in to assist my staff in taking calls.

By about 4 p.m., things started to settle down somewhat, but then I took a 9-1-1 call from Port Huron in St. Clair County. Now it was their turn to feel the wrath of the storm we had just experienced. Unfortunately, our partners at St. Clair County Central Dispatch and their residents were hit harder by the storm than Lapeer County. They were so overwhelmed with calls that we were getting their overflow calls here at Lapeer County Central Dispatch. Then our momentary respite went away, and it was all hands on deck. We used our emergency alert system for employees and called in extra staff to man the phones. While the storm was moving through Lapeer County, we had the four of us managing it. But after getting St. Clair’s calls, plus ours, we were able to staff all seven of our dispatch consoles in short order to field all of the phone calls.

By design, Lapeer and St. Clair 911 centers back each other up in case of problems or an overflow of calls. Both dispatch centers use the same radio system and computer-aided-dispatch systems (CAD). We have pre-determined plans in place should dispatchers need to relocate to the other dispatch center to continue operations. Yesterday we mobilized some parts of the plan to field their phone calls and then enter their calls into their CAD system from our location in Lapeer.

One of the first calls I took from Port Huron was that of a large tree that crashed through a house and brought the power lines inside the home. As far as I know, no one was injured. But there were a lot of calls of severe damage all across Port Huron and Fort Gratiot based on the reports from their residents as they bounced into my dispatch center.

We saw what happened to our neighbors in Davison and Burton in Genesee County with the softball-sized hail and major damage to vehicles. Locally in Lapeer County, there were no reports of hail or hail damage that I am aware of. There were reports of some trees down in several places in Mayfield and Dryden Townships, among a few other places. We had a lot of wires down throughout the county and a possible structure fire in Arcadia Township, which turned out to be an appliance fire due to the storm.

Throughout these challenges, I am immensely proud of the professionalism displayed by my exceptional team at Lapeer County Central Dispatch. Confronting severe storms and an overwhelming volume of calls from both our county and St. Clair County, they remained unwavering in their dedication and expertise. We have worked diligently to build an elite team of 9-1-1 dispatch staff, attracting individuals with an unwavering commitment to serving our community. The rigorous selection process and comprehensive training program overseen by Deputy Director Candy Anderson have resulted in an exceptionally cohesive and top-notch professional team here in Lapeer County.

With that said, here is a breakdown of numbers from yesterday between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.
• 67 calls on our 9-1-1 lines
• 202 calls on our non-emergency lines
• 168 calls entered into CAD

A few storm-related highlights:
• 17 wires on fire
• 12 road hazards
• 18 wires on fire

— Jeffrey Satkowski
Executive Director
Lapeer County
Central Dispatch