Heroes that you may hear but never see

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When most people go to work they generally have a good idea what they have in store for the day, but when you are a dispatcher for the Guthrie Police Department or Logan County Sheriff’s Office you simply don’t have that luxury.

The scene behind the scenes at the Guthrie Police Department. Photo By Chris Evans

“They are the first line of contact and help with the citizens,” Police Chief Damon Devereaux said of the Communication Officers, also known as dispatchers, located inside the police department.

The week of April 8-14, 2012 is National Public Safety Telecommunications Week. This is a week to recognize the voice on the other end of the line when someone dials 9-1-1 for an emergency. 

“Communications are the most important part of an emergency,” Guthrie Fire Chief Eric Harlow said. “Without our dispatchers, we can’t receive the emergency call, can’t be dispatched on the emergency call or be relayed vital information about the call.”

Some departments have the luxury of having multiple dispatchers on duty for separate area’s, but at any given time one dispatcher is in charge of commanding the phone lines, handling traffic from officers, fire fighters, EMS personnel, animal control, along with jail checks and welfare of prisoners. The dispatchers are also responsible for activating storm sirens.

Can you say multi-task?

“They do so much more than people realize or give them credit for. They are the critical life line between our responders and the person having an emergency,” Harlow said.

The Fire Chief went on to say, “we ask a lot of our dispatchers. There’s usually one person handling all the 911 calls, all of the police department’s communications and all of the fire and EMS communications. That’s a lot for one person to do, especially when it’s busy.”

At the Guthrie PD, Shelly Clemons, who is now the Administrative Assistant, has been on board since December of 1997 and when called upon fills in when needed.

Clemons leads the way with an experienced group of Communications Officers, that includes Mary Polly, who came on board in June of 1998, Bobby Stevens (August 2006) and Delia Monterio, who joined the team in June of 2008.

Currently, the department is looking to fill a void spot. For more information, you are asked to contact the City of Guthrie.

At the Logan County Sheriff’s Office they take the pride in the motto of there is no “I” in TEAMWORK!

Major Elvin McDaniel uses three words to describe the communications division with “Efficient, Confident & Knowledgeable”.

McDaniel continued with, “Dispatch is the backbone of the department as this is where it all begins.”

Currently the Sheriff’s Office currently has seven members on staff which to all have at least one year of experience: Bryce Brown (Records /Dispatch 4 years of service), Whitney Romine (3 years), Leisha Knight (3 years), Allie McBane (3 years), Tessa Casey (2 years), Angela Wagner (2 years) and Jeric Toon (1 year).

So next time when you see an officer, deputy, fire crew or an animal control officer -remember they are just part of the team that help you when you need help the most.


3 Comments on "Heroes that you may hear but never see"

  1. This is so awesome THANK YOU so much for the recognition. This is truely a thankless job and when we do receive it, it is very humbling!! So Thank YOU from the bottom or our hearts!!!!!!

  2. Thank you Chris. What an awesome article you wrote. I can not thank you enough. Keep up the good work you always do.

  3. leslie austin | May 6, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Reply

    We knew you were great Shelly!!!

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