During February’s week-long manhunt for escapee Alberto Morales, law enforcement and other emergency personnel were called upon to track down this dangerous fugitive. Along with these officers were many people working behind the scenes on the front lines at the 9-1-1 dispatcher center taking in crucial tips and leads to pass along to officers involved in the search. The men and women of NETCOM who handle 9-1-1 calls for the Cities of Southlake, Keller, Westlake and Colleyville are an exceptional group of people.
These folks perform at peak levels 24/7 and during the manhunt they proved beyond a shadow of a doubt they have what it takes to handle major breaking crisis events and relay important information to officers out in the field. The work of a 9-1-1 dispatcher is not an easy task and they know, all too well, how critical it is to remain calm, cool and collected when dealing with an ever-changing situation or a potential life or death crisis. Southlake Police Chief Stephen Mylett says, “When seconds count, our officers rely on the information that dispatchers relay to them in the field; from the location of a crime in progress to a good description of a potential suspect to allow officers to respond quickly, assess a situation and defuse a potential threat to our citizens.” Mylett adds, “The 9-1-1 operators at our dispatch center our invaluable to us.” Keller Police Chief Mark Hafner echoes his sentiments adding, “Our 9-1-1 dispatchers know how critical it is to get emergency information from a frantic caller while relaying it accurately to responding officers without delay or errors. A wrong address or description can potentially delay help to one of our citizens in need. I can say with extreme confidence that our folks are some of the best in the business! I am very proud to have them on our team!”
During 2012, 9-1-1 operators fielded a total of 144,632 calls which averages out to nearly 400 calls per day. All of the calls are handled by 3 to 5 dispatchers on a typical day. Travis Trevino, NETCOM (Northeast Tarrant Communications) Regional Communications Supervisor said, “The volume of emergency calls increased during the search for escapee Morales. Most of the calls that came in were to report a suspicious person or suspicious activity.”
Teresa Tryon is a 9-1-1 Dispatcher and she says, “My career is very rewarding and I absolutely love my job! I live for the stress and being able to provide assistance to someone in need and resolve a crisis.” Tryon adds, “I’ve been known to break into song to help lighten the mood in the dispatch center on those really tough days.”
The week of April 14-20, 2013—is a great time to “Thank” 9-1-1 Dispatchers. It is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. It is designated as a time when citizens can thank public safety men and women who respond to emergency calls and dispatch emergency professionals and equipment during times of crisis. Americans can show gratitude to 9-1-1 call takers, dispatchers, technicians that maintain radio and emergency phone systems, communications staff trainers, communications center personnel, and other public safety telecommunications staff across the country who work tirelessly, often behind the scenes, to help you during emergencies. Many local agencies around the country will host tours and celebrations to mark the occasion.
Supervisor Travis Trevino says, “One of the most rewarding parts of the job is watching the team work and grow together. All of the 9-1-1 dispatchers have a passion to help others in need by answering that call for help. Whether it’s talking to a terrified mother, frightened child or even an irate person and having the ability to calm them and offer assistance is extremely rewarding to our team. Travis adds, “Every day you have to put aside any personal issues or problems and come to work laser focused on doing the best job you can to help others in crisis. He says that retired Arlington Police Chief Bowman summed it up pretty well, “9-1-1 Dispatchers take the chaos and turn it into calm.” And that was never truer during the extensive manhunt in February. 9-1-1 operators fielded hundreds of additional calls and worked tirelessly to relay accurate information to officers and multiple law enforcement agencies in the field. Their efforts also helped to keep the flow of communication going to keep residents up-to-date and informed about the hunt for Morales.
Dispatchers work twelve hour shifts and if you ever want to see true multitasking come to life just come in and watch them work. They will be working a 9-1-1 call, while communicating vital information to officers in the field, and at the same time monitoring eight different computer screens; and if that’s not enough, they are constantly communicating what’s going on with their supervisor and the other 9-1-1 dispatchers. It’s all in a day’s work! It really takes a special individual to do what they do on a daily basis. It would be a lot of stress and pressure for the average person but these folks thrive in this atmosphere. It’s truly what they love doing. They are passionate about their careers and they treat every person they talk to with compassion and professionalism. Our 9-1-1 dispatchers provide the highest quality of service to the citizens of Keller, Southlake, Westlake and Colleyville as well as handling other multiagency calls for assistance.
The 9-1-1 dispatchers are a great group of people. These men and women often work holidays, anniversaries, birthdays’ etc. helping to make sure the public is kept safe. Telecommunicator’s Week is a perfect time to say “Thank you” to all of these caring and compassionate individuals who do an outstanding job every day in a very demanding career. So, if you feel moved to send a card or an email to thank them, send it to Travis firstname.lastname@example.org or mail it to 330 Rufe Snow Drive, Keller, 76248. They will really appreciate it and you can rest assured when you call 9-1-1 you will not only get the best customer service around but know that the person on the other end of the call really cares about helping you and your family in your time of need or during a crisis.