New Tama County E911 Director and Emergency Management coordinator
December 6, 2013
Mindy Benson could be described as a dispatcher’s dispatcher which will serve her well in her new role as Tama County E911 Director and Emergency Management coordinator. She began work on Oct. 14 replacing Ryan Currens who resigned to re-enter private business. Benson, 35, has been a dispatcher for a total of 13 years. She spent 10 years as a dispatcher for the Cedar Rapids Police and Fire departments and the past three years as an Iowa State Patrol dispatcher. In between the two positions she spent a short time working in the private sector, but says “My heart lies in public safety and emergency communications.” In her new joint role she’ll have plenty of both. Tama County’s round-the-clock communications center currently has seven full-time, one part-time and three on-call dispatchers. The Emergency Management post puts her in the forefront of circumstances arising from weather-related and other incidents such as hazardous materials spills. In addition, the office provides training and support to the 12 fire departments, the ambulance services and first responders county-wide. Benson said working as a Cedar Rapids dispatcher through the infamous floods of 2008 taught to “learn by doing.” She has had extra schooling and training as well through both the Cedar Rapids and State Patrol jobs. In the emergency management area she plans to take Federal Emergency Management agency courses on line and work toward obtaining an Emergency Management certificate. “I do not plan on big changes. I want everything to continue as is. I not one to tell fire departments or EMS how to run their operations,” Benson said. Benson says long-time Emergency Management assistant Julie Kelley has been a “God send” during her first month on the job helping her learn the responsibilities of that part of her new job. She has also served as a reserve officer on the Belle Plaine Police department. Benson is a native of Benton County. Her fathers is a Benton County deputy sheriff and her mother is a bank teller. She has two younger sisters.
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