I began my career in law enforcement in 1986 at age 19 as a dispatcher. I spent many years on the night shift and the evening shift and finally the day shift behind the radio taking and dispatching calls.
It would be an amazing feeling to be able to share a wonderful heroic story of talking someone out of committing suicide or perhaps having the proud new parents name their baby after me after I talked the father through helping his wife give birth in the car while stuck in traffic!
The reality of it is that, like most dispatchers, I never received that one call that required me to give those life saving instructions with good results that resulted in a heroic story for the news.
Now don’t get me wrong, I had my share of dramatic calls of major accidents, heart attack patients, seizure patients, suicide callers, disturbances, etc., but none of these calls resulted in a heroic story for the news.
Most dispatchers in smaller communities may spend their entire careers at the console like me, never having that one call come in. Most dispatchers, like me, spend a lot of time preparing for such a call; but praying they never receive one.
I am at a time in my career where I am now the supervisor and do not have to sit behind that radio preparing and praying so I will more than likely not be the one to handle that “heroic” call if it comes in.
Still, I celebrate my success as a dispatcher who handled the elderly caller and the upset child who called, with a gentle voice and empathy, and calmed the distraught caller with a firm voice and clear instructions.
I celebrate my desire to pass on any knowledge that may assist the current dispatchers and the upcoming supervisors in the pursuit of their careers. I celebrate the upcoming ending of a career that has been successful and rewarding.
We all know that we do not become dispatchers for the pay, but it is a desire to serve and to make a difference. I can honestly say that I can look back at my career and say to myself, “Job well done” and feel like I have made a difference to someone and that is reason enough to feel like a hero!