Switched Frequency Helps Officer in Trouble

Tammy Folvarcik, 911 Dispatcher, City of Riverside and Ray County Dispatch

I began my career as a 911 dispatcher just about six years ago. Four short months into my career I heard my first “plea” for an officer assist over the radio. It’s a moment I will never forget and I believe it is the moment that confirmed that I want to forever be a part of the emergency services family.

The shift began just like any other. My partners and I were busy answering phones, running traffic for officers and just waiting for the next person to request our assistance.

A local officer had taken a male subject into custody and transported him to the police department for processing prior to departing to the local jail. The officer had been out at headquarters for a while when his frantic plea changed my night and confirmed the importance of my job.

“10X needs help, 10X needs help at the jail” were the words that will forever be etched into mind. Because he had accidentally switched frequencies in the struggle with the suspect we were able to hear his request on the Sheriff Department frequency. Had his plea gone out on his department’s frequency it would have gone unheard by my partners and myself, as a fellow dispatcher was relaying traffic to another officer on a stop.

Without hesitation I keyed up over my partner and advised the officer on the stop that her partner was requesting assistance. Deputies were already enroute and all officers were on scene within a matter of seconds. A request for an ambulance by the officers on scene left me feeling concerned for the officer involved. The moments that followed seemed like an eternity until we were ensured the officer would be OK.