“A person is a person, no matter how small.”
Jonna Dodd, a 9-1-1 dispatcher at the Law Enforcement Center, borrowed that quotation from Dr. Suess’s “Horton Hears a Who” while addressing guests in the dispatch center Thursday afternoon.
As they do each April, dispatchers decorated the dispatch center with cutouts of cartoon, book and movie characters to celebrate National Telecommunicators Appreciation Week and invited guests to join them for refreshments and camaraderie.
“This year we decided to do Dr. Suess,” Dodd said. “Whenever you read Dr. Seuss as a kid, it’s a lot of fun, but once you get older, you realize how much the books have meaning.
“One of our big themes this years is ‘Horton Hears a Who,’ and one of his biggest quotes is ‘a person’s a person no matter how small.’ That goes hand-in-hand with our job. It doesn’t matter who you are, what your stature is in the community. We’ll take care of you.”
Dodd, a six-year dispatcher, is known for her art skills and draws and paints the characters.
Brownwood police Lt. James Kidd said he talks to dispatchers to learn what they like best about their jobs. “One constant answer was, they enjoy the interesting part of it. It’s never the same,” Kidd said.
“We had a missing child the other night, and your shift didn’t end at 10 o’clock. You left your console, you punched out and you all went out there. You actually looked for that missing child. We found him. We actually got to celebrate some of our team’s success.”
Sheriff Vance Hill told dispatcher’s they’re appreciated, saying they have a trying job.
“When you all pick up that phone, you never know what’s going to be on the other end, and what you say or what you do can mean the difference in saving someone’s life or catching a crook,” Hill said.
“So we want to thank you for getting us to where we need to be.”
9-1-1 supervisor Deedra Molotsky presented gifts to Patti Davis, regional 9-1-1 coordinator for the West Central Texas Council of Governments. Davis is dispatchers’ “unsung hero,” Molotsky said.
Molotsky also recognized nine-year dispatcher Justin Storch for the job he did last year in talking down a man threatening suicide. Moletsky said Storch handled a call from a man who was driving around threatening suicide and threatening suicide by cop.
Storch remained on the phone with the man as police were on the scene, unsure if the object in the man’s hand was a cell phone or a gun, Molotsky said.
“Justin remained on the phone with him, kept him calm and talked him down,” Molotsky said. “So there was a peaceful ending.”
Storch said talking to someone in a crisis becomes “second nature” with experience. “We talk with a lot of folks who who are in bad situations, who are in the worst time of their life,” Storch said. They call us.
“With him, it was just, talk to him, try to be a sympathetic ear and listen. A lot of people, they don’t want to hurt anybody, they don’t want to hurt themselves. They want help, so that’s what he was calling for.”