WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Every second week of April is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week.
During the week, 9-1-1 dispatchers are being celebrated for all of their hard work that often goes unnoticed.
First responders put their lives on the line every day for the safety of the public and dispatchers are the people that tell them where to go.
“Regardless of any of the other factors, the stress, the paycheck, whatever factors into any job, you know that what you’re doing is worth doing,” 8-year dispatcher Casey Huckabee said.
About 10 years ago, Casey Huckabee was living in the DFW area and looking to move back to Wichita Falls to be closer to family.
While looking for jobs, his girlfriend at that time suggested a peculiar one.
“She called me and said ‘Hey, what do you think about being a 9-1-1 dispatcher?’ I said I don’t know, I guess,” Huckabee said.
Now here he is almost a decade later, handling calls and scheduling shifts.
As dispatchers and the police department celebrate National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, calls still come in like usual.
But officials say it has been a struggle to hire more dispatchers.
“The personal history statement is very detailed and it’s a long process. But a lot of people just get halfway through the process and they just kind of give up. But we can kind of tell who is very serious about applying because if they have any questions they will call us and we can give them information so they can go ahead and get it filled out,” Dispatch Communications Supervisor Carla Turner said.
Although that struggle continues, dispatchers say whoever signs up for the job will most likely find it very rewarding.
“It’s actually a career. I think it’s a career that they would like, the city has really good benefits. For me, it’s been a rewarding career,” Turner said.
“We’ve got a really cool dysfunctional little family here that’s kind of taken some lefts and some rights over the years but it’s a lot of fun in here. That part of it, knowing you’re doing something worthwhile, and that is part of what keeps you here,” Huckabee said.
A first responder that often goes unrecognized but plays an extremely vital role in saving lives.
For more information on how to apply, click here.