Marvin Setty Richard G Waldron Grand Marshals selected for West Union Fourth of July Parade Adams County, Maysville Vet team up to save injured dog Michael S Knauff Victor P Price Success builds from the bottom up Finalists named for 2017 Fair Queen Contest William Glenn DeWine, Reader Call For Tips in Rhoden Murder Investigation MHS principal to take superintendent post Peebles Skate Park now a reality 2017-18 Fur and Feather Ambassadors named Caley Grooms is Cattlemen’s Beef Ambassador Dr. Mueller leaving Health Department’s free clinic Hourglass Quilt Barn returning to Adams County Lung, Thornburg are First Team All-District selections North Adams hosts annual Boys Basketball Camps Walk-off winner Wanda Hill George D Johnson Life can be a juggling act My favorite thing to do on the farm Wolves in Adams County! Ronald L Wedmore Three lessons from Dad Donald D Morgan Wenstrup uninjured in Virginia shooting Portman staff to hold grant funding workshop Raymond E Applegate Keeping the Peebles tradition alive Back on the hardwood, local hoops squads compete in Monday Night League Seven county athletes recognized as All-SHAC Baseball honorees Stepping to the podium Lady Hounds host Youth Volleyball Camp Senior Profile: Bryan Young Junior Deputy Boot Camps kick off in Manchester Hayes pleads “not guilty” to 109 counts Six-year-old girl finds long-lost class ring Jefferson Alumni awards annual scholarships Paul Tate Jr Marcus I Cox Jewell Gill James M Hill Jr Jeffrey S Jones Samuel A Disher Jack Sterling BREAKING NEWS: Parents face charges after son overdoses on opiate License Hikes and Tall Turkey Tales Danger under every rock Reigning Miss Ohio USA will judge 2017 Adams County Fair Queen Pageant Gordley’s hoops career will continue at Mount St. Joseph Russell C Newman Kenneth C Thurman George Uebel Summer Reading Program underway Honor Flight carries local veteran to DC When rescuers become victims Passing the torch, West Union hosts week-long basketball camp for future Dragons SENIOR PROFILE: Sara Knechtly Terry L Powell Willie Shreffler James C Fitzpatrick Senior Profile: Austin Parks Six countians named to All-SHAC Softball squad Lady Indians get summer camp season underway Memorial Day services pay tribute to local veterans WUHS Steel Band will perform at Bogart’s SSCC announces Honors Lists for spring semester Peebles Elementary releases Honor Roll for final nine weeks West Union Elementary announces Honor Roll for fourth nine weeks Back to State! Mom calls daughter “living proof” seat belts save lives Rent-2-Own donation means new soccer scoreboard at WUHS NAHS student selected for Engineering Summer Camp Southern Hills Athletic Conferences honors Spring Sports athletes Senior Profile: Kailyn Boyd Madison Welch receives Riffle Scholarship Junior Achievement Volunteers visit county’s seventh graders Marcella J Abbott James Ratliff Gladys Davitz Harry G Shupert Memories on Memorial Day A soldier’s story, a family’s grief Thank You for your sacrifice Seaman community honors local veterans with special tribute Former PES teacher dies in tragic accident All County Senior Citizens Day celebrated Parks signs with SSCC Soccer Senior Profile: Lexie Bunn Jessie Rodgers Memorial Day services set for county Truly our greatest generation Bertha Lashley Maia Swartz Jessie Rodgers Errors spell the end of Devils’ baseball season Senior Profile: Carry Hayslip Lady Hounds’ season ends with tourney loss to Paint Valley

Help is on the line!

Dispatcher Jennifer Smith monitors the bank of computers at the Adams County Dispatch Center.

Unsung heroes work behind the scenes at local dispatch center – 

Story and photos by Patricia Beech – 

When you’re in trouble they’re the calm, reassuring voices on the other end of the line, offering assurances that help is on the line and on the way.
“It all begins with the dispatchers,” says Sheriff Kimmy Rogers. “They’re the first of the first to respond to a cry for help, and they never know what kind of crisis they’ll be dealing with.”
Adams County’s nine-member public safety telecommunicators are a critical link between the community and first responders. Seated in a closed-off, windowless room, surrounded by 16 brightly lit computer monitors, three wide-screen televisions, and state-of-the-art communications equipment, they work 12-hour days mobilizing law enforcement, fire departments, and emergency medical staff in all manner of emergency situations.
The week of April 9-15 is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. It is a week set aside to honor dispatchers in the public safety community for their contributions to emergency services.
Adams County dispatchers – Kristian Hughes, Sarah Murphy, Jennifer Smith, Chelsea Williams, Shannon Mitchell, Eugene McCleese, Tammy Baker, Samara Estes, Dillon Raines, and Ashley McClure are always there to answer calls – 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Though highly-trained and dedicated to making a difference in the lives of others, it isn’t a job they do for recognition or thanks.
“We sure don’t see ourselves as heroes,” says Jennifer Smith. “We only see ourselves as doing the job we are trained to do – despite the hours, the low pay, or the missed holidays with our families. We are a team, we are a family. We do what we can to make a difference and sometimes, once in a while, we do get to feel like a hero.”
Twenty-year dispatch veteran Shannon Mitchell, says she thinks people have misconceptions about what dispatchers do.
“Some people think the only thing we do is answer the phone and talk on the radio, this is only a fraction of what we do,” Mitchell says. “We not only handle emergency calls, but also numerous non- emergency complaints, questions, and so on. We are also required to enter all county warrants, protection orders, missing persons and carry concealed weapons into the Law-enforcement Automated Database – it requires a lot of time and data entry.”
Tammy Baker, who has spent 18 years working as a dispatcher agrees, “While maintaining communication with a caller we have to keep up with multiple officers, fire and EMS personnel to make sure they have the information and resources they need. So, most of the time multitasking isn’t a plus, it’s a requirement.”
A dispatcher’s job involves periods of inactivity and periods of extreme business, but overall it’s characterized by a lack of predictability – you never know what’s coming next, and each of the dispatchers has developed their own way of coping with those extremes.
Twelve-year dispatch veteran Sarah Murphy says, “When you do this job for so long it doesn’t really bother you to go from entering a warrant to giving CPR, getting calls about a tree down, to paging a fire department out for a structure fire. You just learn to roll with it.”
Each of the dispatchers know it’s inevitable that something tragic is going to happen while they’re at work, and each has their own way of coping with it.
Baker says it isn’t a good idea to dwell on the possibility. “I take each call as it comes and handle it to the best of my ability – that’s where the training kicks in.”
“Dealing with the death of a child is the worst part of the job,” Mitchell says. “Sometimes afterwards I’ve had to sit at my desk and cry and ask myself if I did everything I could have. Then I have to pull myself back together and answer that next call.”
Murphy says after emotionally-charged calls she will often take a break, step outside and try to reset. “We can’t afford to have calls keep us down, it could put other callers in jeopardy,” she says. “I took a call several years ago from my sister’s best friend. I stayed calm and got him what he needed, but it wasn’t enough. That day I had to leave because I couldn’t stay focused.”
“It’s our job to try to take some of the stress and grief from the people who call, and in the end, sometimes it becomes ours,” says Smith. “We try not to take the calls home with us, but it’s much easier said than done.”
The dispatchers say they also get their fair share of ridiculous calls: “I had someone call in screaming about a bear on their back porch that turned out to be a rug,” said Murphy.
“We do get a lot of silly calls,” says Baker. “But, I can’t repeat most of them because they’re not fit for family consumption.”
Kristian Hughes who has clocked in 12 years as a dispatcher says, “You just shake your head and keep doing your job.”
Success within a telecommunication center depends largely on team effort that benefits both the community and first responders.
“Our citizens are our first priority,” says Smith, “Once a call is dispatched, then our priority is divided between our caller and our first responder – their safety is a prime concern as well, we know the dangers they face on every call they go on. In all reality, we all have the same goal and that is to serve and protect.”
In the year 2016 the Adams County 911 Communication Center answered a total of 22,381 calls for law enforcement, fire, and emergency services.

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