An open letter to a Dispatcher

While I was getting some thoughts for my next email (for Police Week 2014) that will be going out in a week or so, I felt the need to stop and converse for a minute on some people who are really special to me.

For those of you who know my story know how it started. Here is the basic story that I tell “This began while I was thinking on the events of 9/11 in 2008. One of the last “moment of silence” was for the fire fighter that was the last survivor removed. During that moment, a gratitude for our law enforcement and fire crews really “came to life” so to speak. That evening I called my local department (Huber Heights, OH) on 9/11 and asked if they could let the officers and fire fighters know my appreciation for them. I was informed that they had not had that request in over 14 years. So that’s when I decided that I would reach as many as I could and let them know they are cared about.”

What seems to both of us like a moment of candor and honesty, has turned into a real life purpose for me. It’s been said that there are two great days in your life. When you are born, and when you figure out WHY you were born. That day really started the journey for me to figure out WHY I was born. When I talked to the dispatcher that night, it really came alive in me. Now, 750 departments hear from me. I’m a Chaplain for a few Police Departments directly and available to others as mutual aid. I’ve been in hospitals, funerals, more ride alongs that anyone I know and my life is dramatically different now. I won’t say who it is since I didn’t get her permission, but I have told her on a few occasions what that conversation meant to me that day. My life has been changed forever. Who did God use? It wasn’t a friend, or even a minister. It was a Dispatcher.

This week is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. A time when we express our gratitude to those who are behind the mics and phones telling us all what to do and where to go. I’ve sat in the HHPD dispatch for a while on a couple of occasions. I hear them in action every time I’m in one of our cars. I know that we are in good hands when I hear their voices. They are just plain awesome.

I want to give shout outs to another dispatch too. Now I’ve heard lots, but in a trying time, these voices kept it all together. When I went to Menifee County after the tornadoes in 2012, I rode with the Sheriff’s Office there. Even in the middle of all kinds of stuff going on, the Menifee County dispatch team was on top of it. Here’s the picture: It’s two days after the touchdown. We have 2 people confirmed dead, and damages to numerous residences. Power lines still lay in some roads and the National Guard was blocking off the worst hit area. It is 10 PM at night, getting colder. On top of all this, opposite side of the county, a domestic violence call. Then it started snowing. All this going on, and the lone dispatcher was holding the county together. She was in control. And even though some of this area had just been through hell, you’d never know it to her the radio transmissions. I was amazed.

SO to all my dispatcher friends (and readers) out there, never forget that you are AWESOME. Never forget that YOU can make a HUGE difference in someone’s life. You are the voice we count on. You may not get enough credit for what you do, but it does not go un-noticed. So, if any of you guys ever need anything, you let Doc know.

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