SANTA CLARA (KPIX) — Police dispatchers in Santa Clara handle an average 5,000 calls per month. When the Super Bowl comes to town, they could log that many in a week.
As the lead emergency services agency for Super Bowl 50, the small department is gearing up for a super surge of 911 calls.READ MORE: Betty Reid Soskin, Nation's Oldest Park Ranger, Honored With School Renaming On 100th Birthday
“We’ve increased our 911 call-receiving capabilities by 40 percent. So that means that during Super Bowl week, folks who have a need to call 911 will be able to get through and get an officer, or whatever they need, dispatched to them for help,” Santa Clara Police Lt. Kurt Clarke told KPIX in an interview at the city’s police main dispatch center.
For the Super Bowl, Santa Clara will open a second dispatch center inside Levi’s Stadium to handle the overflow and provide system redundancy.
“It’s going to be exciting, challenging. We’re looking forward to it — it’s going to be a busy day,” said Chris Schiller, a 16-year veteran of the force who will be assigned to the stadium.READ MORE: UPDATE: Oakland Officer, Suspect Wounded In Shootout; Suspect Surrenders After Tense Standoff
About a million visitors are expected in the Bay Area for the Super Bowl and many of them will cluster in Santa Clara. Dispatchers must be ready to handle everything from a terror event to a heart attack and they have received additional, specialized training. Computer and software systems have also been upgraded at the communication centers.
The city will have at least triple the usual number of dispatchers on duty that day but not all will be focused on the game.
“We have enough staffing to handle city calls for service so, if you are not attending the Super Bowl or any of the venues, services will not be impacted,” said Lt. Clarke.MORE NEWS: Teen Arrested For Attempted Murder In Fremont Kennedy High School Assault
San Francisco is also getting ready for a spike in emergency calls during Super Bowl Week and is opening an emergency operations center scheduled to go into service on Jan. 30 and continue in service through the Monday after the game.