At first, 9-1-1 communications supervisor Deedra Molotsky wasn’t sure what I was talking about: Something that happened this past Monday morning? Outside the court-house? Guy arrested?
Then she flashed a big grin — dare I say, beamed — when she realized of which I spoke: man shows up for arraignment on a drug charge? Police say he’s driving a stolen pickup with meth? Police arrest him?
“I made the call!” Deedra enthused, beaming her big grin. Actually she’d made many calls, and so did several other people, prior to the arrest. She told me the story: dispatch had received a teletype from Abilene police about an attempt to locate a stolen vehicle. The suspect, a white male, was scheduled to be in court in Brownwood that morning.
Deedra called the courthouse and asked if the suspect had shown up for court. They weren’t sure, but they were going to check and get back with her.
She radioed for officer Zane Taylor to “public service” her via phone, to avoid putting out sensitive information on the airwaves.
After several phone calls between Deedra, the courthouse and Zane, and after cryptic radio calls among officers who set up on the suspect, he was arrested.
Deedra let me listen to the recordings of the phone and radio conversations of the entire episode. The relaxed, every-day, chatty nature of the phone conversations belied the seriousness of the information being exchanged — information that could potentially lead to a felony arrest.
“OK, hang on … OK, so Abilene has a stolen vehicle … “ Zane says to Deedra as he processes the information in their initial phone conversation.
“He’s supposed to be at the courthouse … it’s a 2005 red Dodge ….” Deedra tells Zane.
“Here’s the deal …” Deedra tells someone at the courthouse a few minutes later.
The radio calls begin between officers setting up on the suspect and the officers and Deedra.
“I’ll be in the area …”
“Six-sixteen, six-twenty-seven. Can you call me, please?”
“He’s in the truck now …”
Then Sgt. Troy Carroll radios, “Have two occupants, two females, one in front passenger, one in rear passenger … he’s got somebody blocking him so it’s gonna be just a minute before he can pull out … he’s backing out of the parking lot. It looks like he’s gonna be going west on Broadway — west on Broadway.
“There we go, guys …”
Detective Larry Owings comes up on the radio, saying something about “courthouse on Broadway” and recites a license plate number. Then officer Fred Bastardo radios: “Everything’s ten-four. One detained at this time …”
“I loved it. It was great,” Deedra said. “ … I’m really proud of the officers. Sometimes they don’t get enough credit.”
My conversation with Deedra took place Wednesday morning in her office at the Law Enforcement Center.
Earlier that morning, the little hamsters had been running furiously in their wheels as I pondered this week’s column: could I once again take a nothing thought and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
I knew I wanted to acknowledge the voice mail someone had left me, claiming the Fan No. 44 spot. And you know who you are, Johnson … thank you very much.
But I didn’t have any other ideas — until I ended up in Deedra’s office.
Deedra, a 1986 graduate of Rising Star Hah Skool and the wife of DPS trooper Martin Molotsky, is a good sport and a quick wit. She takes her job — both as a 9-1-1 dispatcher and communications supervisor — extremely seriously. In previous interviews, she has talked about her job being a “calling.”
When she worked as a jailer in the early ‘90s, she intervened in an inmate’s suicide attempt.
As a dispatcher, she once pleaded with a man over the phone to put down his gun and end a confrontation with police.
But for a few minutes this Wednesday morning, the most serious threat she had to deal with was a cat juggler with a sensitive ego.
“You are my favorite cat juggler,” Deedra said.
“Do you know any other cat jugglers?” I demanded.
“Not a one.”
She said she’d read one of my recent columns and “it was about nothing. I love that.”
“They’re all about nothing,” I explained.
“But this was more about nothing than the others … it was saying something about you’d found another Johnson cat juggler fan.”
Now I ask you. Who can take a nothing thought and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile? It’s you cat juggler and you should know it …
Steve Nash writes his column for the Brownwood Bulletin on Thursdays. He may be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.