In an effort to highlight the important work of emergency dispatchers within our community, the St. Helens Police Department (SHPD) is partnering with Columbia 911 Communications District (CCOM) for their next First Thursday presentation at 7 p.m. on Thursday, September 5, in the Columbia Center auditorium, located at 375 S. 18th Street.

Staff from Columbia 911 Communications District will share the history of CCOM, what services the District covers and who they dispatch for, their yearly call volume, what to expect when you call 911, and what it takes to become a dispatcher.

“No matter where we are in the United States, when we dial 911 we expect a calm and professional dispatcher to instantly answer our call,” an SHPD press release stated. “Dispatchers work in high-pressure situations to gather essential emergency information, dispatch the appropriate first responders to a scene, keep the caller on the phone calm, and, if necessary, give basic and life-saving first aid instructions until medical professionals arrive.”

First Thursday is a monthly community meeting with the SHPD held on the first Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. A new topic is presented at each meeting related to community safety, crime prevention, police services, or seasonal-specific safety information. After a brief presentation, participants have the opportunity to ask St. Helens officers and CCOM staff questions, find out what’s happening in St. Helens neighborhoods, and discuss any topics of concern with fellow community members and police.

“The goal of First Thursday is to bring the St. Helens community and local law enforcement together once a month for meaningful conversation about the community,” officials said. “The meetings are an opportunity to make connections in the community, not just between police officers and residents, but also between neighbors.


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