WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) – Throughout the year we have days and weeks dedicated to first responders. But there’s one first responder who is often overlooked… that is being celebrated this week. To give you a hint, it’s the first voice you hear when you call 9-1-1.

9-1-1 what’s your emergency; If you’ve ever dialed for an emergency, chances are, those are the first words you hear when your call is answered.

“You do get to talk to a lot of people on some very low points in their days, and I think it’s humbling, to be able and get to experience that because we are incredibly blessed.
That can be a reminder if anyone needed one, I think, to hear some of the things people go through and the reason their call into the police station, because, they have nobody in their life, and they’ve been on the streets for 10 years and hear voices in their heads and everything else,” Dispatcher for WFPD, Justin Goodwin said.

WFPD SGT. Charlie Eipper said despite police officers experiencing traumatic scenes and being on-site for crimes, he wants to remind the public that dispatchers play their own role in these situations.

“Our dispatchers hear those things, and so that’s something for our citizens to remember, that’s a difficult job especially those call takers that are taking the 911 calls, and just things that you hear, will remain in your memory forever maybe, and you take those things home with you, and their difficult to hear and to listen to,” Sgt. for WFPD, Charlie Eipper said.

Eipper said they all have a mission to serve and protect the community…a mission that couldn’t be completed without dispatch officials.

“It starts right there at the dispatch level and then all the way finished until we are finished with that call, or the investigation or arrest or even conviction, there are times, we go back all the way to that call where dispatch handled that and that becomes evident in the court of law, and it’s great to do that because we couldn’t do our job without them.

Justin Goodwin said being a dispatcher for the following year has taught him he can only take responsibility for what he’s responsible for, but can sure try his best to help citizens of our community.

“I can’t save your life. I can’t do anything of that nature, but what I can do, I can attempt to get help your way, I can try to get all the information that not only is necessary but beneficial for you to get out. Better to scream at me than somebody else in person. You can scream at me all you want if that’s what gets it out; maybe they’ll get a good night’s sleep for the first time in a couple of weeks after that.”

For more information on how to apply or give thanks to these first responders, click here.