Local Dispatchers Answer the Call

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This week, we take a moment to recognize unseen heroes who answer your calls for help.

Behind all those computers and phones is the voice on the line when you're in danger.
While a dispatcher's presence isn't visible, they're always there.

"Once the responding agency is on the scene, the dispatcher becomes their lifeline. They're able to give information back that we're not able to look up ourselves," said Bowling Green Police Public Information Officer Ronnie Ward.

While juggling phones, computers and information, they get calls about almost everything.

"I've definitely seen people become a therapist... a marriage counselor... a suicide preventor. Sometimes people just want to talk. You may be that voice of reason," said Telecommunications Supervisor Adam Smith.

Often, being that voice is not easy.

"That's a huge task to take on when your words matter, and the things you tell somebody are a matter of life and death," said Smith.
"It really is the most difficult thing ever, but it is also the most rewarding because you are saving lives," said Dispatcher Carrie Crawford.

That reward is something few ever see, but can be heard without ever meeting the person on the other end of the line.

"To hear somebody say thank you so much, you've been so wonderful and the officers are here and you've really helped me. I mean, that's your moment," said Crawford.

It's during times of tragedy, we're reminded of the importance of the teamwork between dispatchers and responders.

"Hearts definitely go out to those in Boston, because it shows how much they did work together as a team and really helped all the citizens that were affected by that," said Crawford.

Crawford and Smith say among the many skills required of this profession, teamwork may be the most valuable.

Dispatchers at the Bowling Green Police Department alone take about 15,000 911 calls each month.

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