Troy recognizes dispatchers

Published 9:15 pm Friday, April 15, 2011

Mayor Jimmy Lunsford sits along side several of Troy’s local dispatchers. Lunsford signed a proclamation Thursday afternoon commemorating National Public Safety Telecommunications Week.

Mayor Jimmy Lunsford signed a proclamation Thursday in commemoration of it being National Public Safety Telecommunications week.

The week-long tribute focused primarily on the heroes who aid law enforcement officials—police and fire department dispatchers.

It is a stressful job, but these men and women are thoroughly trained to handle whatever comes their way.

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Kassey O’Hara, E-911 Dispatcher, has eight years experience as a police dispatcher for the city of Troy and said she has taken emergency calls of all kinds and it can be stressful at times.

“We deal with everything from inclement weather, disorderly callers, high stress situations, such as motor vehicle accidents and robberies,” O’Hara said. “We have had a lot of tragic events lately and that tends to take a toll on us personally as well.”

O’Hara said sometimes, when an emergency call results in death, it is difficult not to question if anything else could have been done to prevent it.

“Looking back at all that makes you realize just how important your job as a dispatcher is and makes you thankful for all the things you have in your life,” O’Hara said.

There is a lot of stress that goes with the job and, according to O’Hara, sometimes frantic callers can add to it.

“You have to take each call on an individual basis, no two calls are the same, no two callers are the same, the circumstances are always different,” O’Hara said. “You have to do whatever you can to calm that person down to where you can get the information you need in order to do your job effectively.”

For emergency police and fire dispatchers, taking pride in what they do is important.

“You have to have pride in your job in order to do it effectively,” O’Hara said. “You have to have pride in your job in order to come to work everyday and deal with some of the things we have to deal with.”

Rushia Jones, a Troy City dispatcher with 20 years of experience, said the most stressful type of call , for her, is any call involving young children and the elderly.

“One of the most stressful parts of the job is finding out what is going on, so you can send the right service in order to help them,” Jones said. “Sometimes you can have 50 calls in one night, when you send an officer out and everything turns out to be fine, but then you get that one call that just stays with you. It could be a call about a child that isn’t breathing or an older adult that’s fallen on the floor and can’t get up, or a call from somebody about someone breaking into their house. You can have calls all night, but there’s always that one call that stays with you.”

According to Jones, sometimes the job can be frustrating, but it is worth it.

“I think it’s great to be able to help someone. It makes me feel good that someone called in, needing assistance and I got that assistance to them in a timely manner and they are OK,” Jones said.

Police Chief Anthony Everage said the city has over 13 full-time police dispatchers and everyone of them are an invaluable asset to the community.

“Their job as dedicated police dispatchers range in experience from one year up to more than 25 years of experience,” Everage said. “They’re very dedicated employees and do a great job and we’re dependent on them, along with the citizens of Troy, to be sure and route emergency services to where they need to go to get the information that needs to be obtained to talk to people in crisis situations and be able to communicate with them well enough to get the information we need to provide the emergency services we provide.”

Communication is a valuable skill and, according to Chief Everage, city of Troy dispatchers know how to communicate.

“Dispatchers must certainly be able to multi-task,” Everage said. “These dispatchers are trained professionals and they’re compassionate to the people they deal with and can be the calming effect on a lot of situations, on a lot of calls. They do an excellent job of answering those calls.”