GRAYSON COUNTY, Tex. - They have one of the most stressful careers in law enforcement and it's often a thankless job. Dispatchers are being recognized for their hard work this week.
Dispatchers are being honored as part of the "National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week." Because day or night, 24-7, they are there in case of emergency to answer your call.
The phone rings and within seconds, a 911 dispatch operator answers the call.
"911, what’s your emergency?"
A job that both dispatchers and officers like Denison Police Lieutenant Mike Eppler say can be hard. “Numerous phone lines, radio traffic, monitor inmates in the jail. The dispatcher has a lot of activity going on at one time."
Dispatcher Lisa McNeal says, “It can be stressful when all four phones are ringing at the same time and both 911 phones are ringing at same time."
McNeal is a dispatcher for Sherman Police, sometimes working a 12-hour shift. She's learned when you do this job you never know what will happen.
McNeal says, “You have to stay calm, because when people call, a lot of times they are panicked so you have to take control of the situation. That can be a little nerve-racking at times."
McNeal and other dispatchers say it’s more than just answering the phone; it’s about providing support and compassion to citizens in distress.
And while dispatchers don't usually get the credit for saving lives, McNeal says just knowing she's helping is enough. But of course, being appreciated is always nice.
“A lot of times when people call, they are not very friendly to dispatchers. But it’s nice when someone appreciates you and the job that you do because the job can be stressful at times," says McNeal.
Because having someone to answer the other line quickly when you need them the most can mean the difference between life and death.
“It makes you feel good when you can save someone's life, because by us working together, we save a lot of lives."
TCOG has also teamed up to recognize local dispatchers by decorating the communication centers to show their appreciation. If you know someone who does this important job, they encourage you to thank them for their hard work.