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Frio County Sheriff Mike Morse is recognizing the men and women of his office who are serve a vital role in protecting the citizens – the dispatchers.
“Dispatchers are the true first line in any emergency response,” Morse said this week. “They are the first contact anyone in an emergency crisis will have.”
Seated behind their desks for most of their shifts, dispatchers are expected to remain calm and help individuals in a crisis, all the while attempting to transmit vital pieces of information to first responders.
National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, marked during the second week in April, honors the 911 professionals who handle emergency calls, dispatch first responders and provide life-saving assistance to those in times of need.
The sheriff said the individuals possess interpersonal skills that reflect the ability to remain calm, are compassionate and must be multitaskers as they deal with frantic callers.
“While questioning the caller to get pertinent information, they are having to enter the information into the computer; then they are dispatching it to the appropriate first responder,” Chief Deputy Peter Salinas said. “These dispatchers are also dealing with angry family members demanding to know why their family member is in jail and when they can bail them out. It is not a job for the fainthearted.”
Without their selfless efforts, emergency response would be nonexistent, the sheriff said, adding that he believes the work hours, holidays, weekends and situations that occur on the other end of the line every day are trying.
“These men and women know to make a mistake could cost someone their life,” the chief deputy said. “Officers know that some citizens can’t understand this and simply become upset, believing that the dispatcher is being lazy or must be terrible at their job. They are yelled at by upset callers, taken for granted by the public, blasted over social media and even criticized by the officers. The rewards they get are little to none.”
Sheriff Morse hosted a luncheon on Thursday for the dispatch staff and presented them with gifts in appreciation for their hard work and dedication to the county.
“You are heroes, no less than any other first responders,” the sheriff said. “You may not be on the roads or at the scenes with us, but we know you – our guiding angels – are only a radio click away.”