Helping Hand

Ruth Barefoot, Training Officer, Currituck County 911, Currituck, NC

I began my life venture on the private side of Public Safety for a gated community. We were sworn officer, first responder, convenience officer and the list goes on. I worked there for over 10 years, and then I decided to give the public sector a try.

I enjoyed helping people and was hoping going into this field I could help more. From my little bit of experience on the medical side of first responder, I knew I did not want to be in the back of an ambulance or fighting a fire; getting shot at was not something I wanted either but I wanted to help.

I began with Williamsburg Police Department in 2000, working in dispatch; eventually working up to records clerk and also still dispatching. I realized the bond that you get with you co-1workers is amazing. It is a family. And to know that you got someone help in their darkest hour made me feel good about what I was doing even though we were never seen.

I married in 2004 and moved so I had to leave my Family at Williamsburg Police Department. In 2005 I was lucky enough to get on with Currituck County 911. It was different from what I knew. It was a sheriff’s department and we were a standalone center. The one thing that was not different was the bond, it was still family, it was still helping those in need in their darkest hour. I was still making a difference behind the headset.

It is 2017 and I am still with Currituck County 911, I love my Job I love my work family; I love our responders; they are amazing, and I still love making a difference. I have moved up to training officer for our center and it makes me feel good to help someone along in this great career. It takes a special person to be able to do what we do, and to see someone come in with no experience, scared to touch the radio or computer grow and one day they are giving CPR instructions getting units rolling without skipping a beat. It makes you feel proud of who they have become and that they are now helping people in their darkest hour.

One call I will never forget was in Williamsburg – an elderly couple had a son who was not thinking straight outside the home, with a hatchet trying to get in. To hear him breaking windows, and the fear in the callers voice, trying to get them somewhere in the home safe until help could get there; staying with them until they were safe with an officer. They actually wrote a letter to my supervisor there to say thank you for the calm voice through it all and how I helped them stay calm and stay safe. That meant a lot to me and I will never forget that call.

Working in a college town, suicides were very common, and taking those calls from friends that find them will never leave your mind. In June 2007, on a Saturday, we had two people on here in communications, we had several fatalities on the highway and many many other calls. it was summer and the traffic going to and coming from the Outer Banks was crazy. I can remember looking at my partner at the end of the day and saying what just happened. I don’t think we were able to get up all day.

We always try to have a nice dinner for NTW, we also try to have fun days; jeans day, PJ day and such to keep moral up and just make our amazing team smile. They deserve so much more than we are able to do for them. Because of them I can go home at the end of my shift and know that the shift is covered and that we have competent able telecommunicators taking care of our county.

I love my Job and my work family. I would not want to do anything else.