Dispatchers honored this week for their work taking 911 calls

A day in the life of a 911 dispatcher

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - When you call 911, it’s often one of the scariest moments of your life. This week, the people who answer those calls are getting recognition for their work as part of Public Telecommunicators Week.

LaToya Melton, a dispatcher in Mountain Brook, has a decade of dispatcher experience.

She radios police or fire resources to callers in need.

Every day, those calls are people in their hour of need.

“I never would have imagined myself doing something like this,” said Melton.

At her desk, she has to be ready for any call that comes in.

“It’s sometimes seconds!” she said.

On the other end of the phone, you never know what it’ll be.

“The ones that kind of get to me sometimes are the children,” Melton recalled.

She responds with compassion, a calming presence on the other line.

“Say what I would want someone to say to me, if I was freaking out or something was happening to my child,” she explained.

And when the calls come, she knows it’s her job to stay calm.

“We don’t know what the outcome is going to be, but we just have to be there for that person in that moment, and that’s what they expect us to do,” she said.

This week nationally honors all dispatchers You’ll see local police departments like Mountain Brook thanking the people who answer those phones.

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