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Why I Still Wear the Headset

Sometimes the reasons that motivated us to become a 911 Telecommunicator aren't the same reasons we still do it. We took to Facebook and asked: What motivates you to keep putting on that headset every day? These are the responses...


Jessica Blair - Strasburg,Virginia - dispatch for Warren CO- dispatching for 18 years. Reason I keep putting my headset on is because I know that I’m here to help people the best I can. I want my Deputies to go home safe and sound.


Kjelse Sonja Rittmeyer - I care intensely about the first responders I serve, way more than I ever realized would happen. And I love my department and want to see it become the best it can be. Sanpete County, Utah. 4.5 years here, 7 years total.


Norm Gann - Lake County, IL, in my 10th year. I used to work in IT and got laid off. Many moons ago I had considered being a police officer, and I’ve always been the type to help people. So while I was laid off I started looking into the Public Service field and was going through the process to be a firefighter as well. Once I started, I realized it was where I was meant to be and didn’t complete the firefighter process, and the rest is history. While I don’t always like the people, I love the purpose.


Rikki Walters - The men and women on the other side of the radio, they have become my family. Were it not for them I wouldn’t be the woman I have become today and I come back in every day in hopes that I can give them the protection and security that they give me every day.

South Mississippi, 7.5 years.


Terra Avery Pearson - Insurance, retirement, bills... 😁


Mary Rash Aronson - I started part time in 1989, and went full time in 1994. My (now ex) hubby was an officer, I was pregnant and we needed the money. Why I am still doing this is sometimes a full on mystery to me! I still like cheering for the rookies, listening to the long timers, and watching them all "get it" when some thing new comes along. I have told them all that I will be their biggest fan, and harshest critic, and I will always do my best for them. God bless~


Kimberly Lucky - Chicago Police Dispatch. I started dispatching in 08 with 20 yrs in with the city total. I started initially because I wanted to “be the police “ but inside. I’m an empath who enjoys helping others. What keeps me going is the light 💡 that I see and the fact that most do appreciate what I do.


Amy Therrien - Connecticut, 20 yrs, 16 at my current agency. Love being able to be a part of helping people in my community. It keeps m going in. During the hard moments being part of the large family of first responders really helps me to continue on due to all the support offered.


Cheryl Cross - Lake County IL 17 years. I put my headset on every day because I know someone is going to need me to be there, if not today then tomorrow. Also, I truly love and appreciate my work family


Sara Evans - I am from Bledsoe county, Tn. And currently work in van buren county, Tn. and part time in Bledsoe county. I wanted to become a 911 TC to further my abilities to help others, as I am already a local rescue squad member. Once I got in the groove of being there for people at their worst, I fell in love. That has all changed, I’ve stuck with it for over a year now (newbie here) I love my job, it is stressful, and hard to push through the bad times, but I’ve stayed because I’ve helped so many. The ones who call saying my mother is having a heart attack, or I have wrecked and I don’t know where I am, or the my brother isn’t breathing. I want all of my responders (LE, Fire, EMS, rescue, park rangers, and all the others) safe and to be able to go home to their families. It’s hard, and sometimes we don’t get the answers of what happens after we hang up the phone, (which totally sucks) but as long as I do all I could for them on my side I feel as if I helped a lot. And on the plus side it keeps my bills paid and everything else.


Cori Johnson - Lake County Sheriff.I started about 13 years ago, I think. It was kind of a fluke. I wanted to change careers. I was stressed out in Retail HR Management. So I applied, tested and began my career. It came pretty naturally to me. I enjoyed being the one people could count on for help. The money was nice, the schedule was great and the people I worked with were amazing. I continue to do this job because I enjoy making a difference. I love the rush of a fast-paced call, I love catching the bad guy, I love knowing people can count on me.


Charisce Floody - Lake County Sheriff IL - 16 years. I was working in food service. One of my very good friends had just gotten hired on the road and used to part-time as a bouncer where I worked. He watched me take orders and never write anything down. He said he thought I'd make a great dispatcher because of my memory. I applied because the pay sounded good and the benefits sounded even better. I really had no knowledge of what exactly we did other than answer phones and send help. (I had every episode of Rescue 911 under my belt so clearly I was clueless) It took me almost two years to get hired and I was HOOKED. Now, I know what the job entails and I love what I do. I love the family we are, the friends we've made and knowing I've helped so many along the way.


Annie Maddox-Weaver - What motivates me now is not what motivated me before.....4 years till retirement. 26 years currently North Las Vegas PD.


Tina Fischer - Started in 1981 in a suburb bordering Chicago. I was just turning 19 years old. I was trained by an officer and just naturally fell into helping people and becoming part of the blue family. I moved onto a better and more progressive department almost 9 years later when I finally retired after 35 years. I miss helping people and miss being around the blue family; however loving my retirement also. Thank you to all who are still dispatching!


Ro Amato - I fell into the job literally. It was going to only be temporary. Lol, 30 yrs later I still love the job. No benefits except paid vacation. But I like the shift, love my Supervisor and coworkers. I work by myself 99% of time but know in case of big events that whoever comes in for assisting I can get along with.


Tracie Deason Whalen - Been doing this since March of 1993 so almost 27 years. All for Aurora police in Illinois. I started this as a fluke when I took the test and was good at this. I love what I do. I hate the politics. My motivation is retirement and supporting my family.


Brendhan Sears - 12 years at Lake County Sheriff, Illinois. Some days, it's not easy to come in and put the headset on, and for a variety of reasons. I know everyone can agree with me on that. But slowly, my coworkers became friends and, eventually, my family. I became loyal and developed a sense of obligation towards them, and I want to be there for them. And I'm not just talking about my fellow headset heroes, but my entire department. As the years go by and the calls become a blur of the routine, it's easy to lose that feeling that we're making a difference or that we're truly helping people - but I still feel it every now and then. It's a good feeling, and it's not always about the "big saves." I like to think the guidance we provide some of our callers has been the catalyst that led to something that helped improve their quality of life somehow. That's why I come back.


Kary Hardman - I just retired (Oct 6, 1980 - Oct 6, 2019). I started as a telephone taker, then a dispatcher. After 24 years I promoted to supervisor. I started my job at 19. All of my adult years were spent within the walls of a 911 Communications Center for the California Highway Patrol. I continued to work in the communications center for various reasons at various times. Sometimes it was because it was a stable job, and I had bills to pay. Sometimes it was because of the benefits. Sometimes it was because I had seniority and didn't want to start over. But, most of the time I loved my job! I loved taking calls for help and providing it. I loved dispatching calls to the officers. I loved the energy and adrenaline within the Center, especially when it was busy. I LOVED telling people I worked for the CHP, as dysfunctional as they can be at times, I felt proud to be a member. If I had to choose a career I would pick this one again.

Tracy Moreno Vasquez - For me, it’s still the same reason I got into this career in 1990, I’m nosy and I wanna know what’s going on!!


Johnette DellSusan Van Dien - Wanted to be a cop but was too young and in College. Decided to do it part time as Minimum wage of $2.65 and theirs paid $10! (37 years ago)! I was good at it so I stayed in the game!

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