Thankless job receives praise - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Thankless job receives praise

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

By Al Showers – bio | email

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Leaders at the Central Dispatch Office in Hancock County will recognize its employees during National Public Safety Telecommunications Week next week.

No matter what or where the emergency is in Hancock County, how it will play out starts in the 9-1-1 call center.

Dawn Penton is the Director of the Central Dispatch Center.

"Depending on what the dispatcher or the communications person does here affects your emergency where ever you are," Penton said. "So it's really important that they know what they're doing; that they are skilled in all the equipment, and they have the tools to do what they need to do."

Not everyone can do this job. Being able to multi task and stay calm are key.

Penton said, "People say I can use a computer and answer a phone. And then that first child who's choking or the burning building or anything like that or they hear somebody screaming...you pick up that 9-1-1 call and all you hear is screaming over the phone. It takes a very different person to be in here."

Sandy Melton has been a dispatcher for nearly 10 years. She left a job at a casino to start a career in law enforcement.

Melton said, "I just enjoy sitting here answering the phones talking to people getting help to them as they need it."

She says what she loves about the job is there is never a boring moment.

Melton "You have to multi task, always be on your toes when emergencies come in, get all the correct information for the officers," Melton said. "So they don't get hurt and the subjects out there can get help."

Penton said, "If you didn't have them you would not have a responder get to you, so just as important as the responders are to you, these dispatchers are very much a part of that because it starts here."

She says she plans to recognize them with appreciation gifts and certificates next week. National Public Safety Telecommunications Week runs from Sunday April 11th through the 17th.

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