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Rehm-Chamberlain to Retire From Communication Center

By Staff | Sep 29, 2016

ONE OF HER LAST DAYS – Sheryl Rehm-Chamberlain is shown at the communication desk on one of her last days at work as a dispatcher. Rehm-Chamberlain is retiring after 11 years total, eight of those years since returning in 2008. Rehm-Chamberlain stated, “I have enjoyed working here so much. We are all like family and I am going to miss that.” --Anesa McGregor photo

On Friday, September 30, Sheryl Rehm-Chamberlain will work her last day as a dispatcher at the Communications Center in Emmetsburg.

She worked as a dispatcher from 1987 to 1992 before moving to Flagstaff, AZ and working as a dispatcher for the Flagstaff Police Department for six years. After working at IBM in Rochester, MN for 10 years Rehm-Chamberlain returned to Emmetsburg and resumed her dispatching career in 2008.

“To be a dispatcher a person needs to be a good listener, have a good sense of humor and get along with everybody,” Rehm-Chamberlain said.

Technology has greatly improved the communications center making the dispatcher more efficient in the work that is done. When Rehm-Chamberlain began working at the Communications Center in 1987, everything was done on paper, class were taken on a handle held phone and the only real computerized equipment was the Teletype for the state.

“Technology has gone leaps and bounds. I still write things done because that is the way I was trained,” Rehm-Chamberlain said. “Everything is supposed to be entered into the computer immediately. The younger people can do this. It’s second nature to them. For me it’s a little more difficult but I have adapted. Computer technology is just awesome.”

Currently the dispatcher monitors or works with seven different computer monitors. According to Rehm-Chamberlain when she first started there was a small monitor and no cameras. The jail cameras were off to the side and we monitored the jail.

One of the best assets the Communication Center has is known as the Locator according to Rehm-Chamberlain.

“If a call comes in on a landline, we get an exact address. If the call comes in on a cell phone, those can bounce off towers and be more difficult to pinpoint,” Rehm-Chamberlain stated. “The paging system is a lot easier than before. The telephone lines are all done on computer. You type everything into the computer so is all time stamped so if someone is looking for times, it’s all right there. If you needed information from the State, everything was typed in under specific formats.”

“I have enjoyed working here so much, I’m going to miss it. Friday will be a sad and happy day for me,” Rehm-Chamberlain said. “I just love all these people that I with. Watching some of these young men, Sheriff Lynn Schultes, Deputy Eric Hanson and Deputy Dan Jackson were all rookie officer with the Emmetsburg Police Department and some of the new guys weren’t born yet and are younger than my kids, so I thought it may be time to move on. We are all family here and I am going to miss that.

As for plans for retirement, a trip to Arizona for a wedding and possibly an extended stay. Rehm-Chamberlain is just going to enjoy the time she doesn’t have to get up and come into work.