Recognizing 911 dispatchers for National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week

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FLEMING COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – It’s National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, honoring those who don’t always receive recognition, dispatchers.

Dispatchers, the unsung heroes, the first person you call during an emergency to get you help.

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“It’s not just things like shootings, sometimes people are just sick, and they’re scared, or you don’t know what their situation is,” said Jenny Roark, Fleming County 911 Dispatcher.

Roark has been a dispatcher for close to 15 years and said she can’t imagine doing anything else until she retires.

“It’s nice to know that you can be someone’s lifeline,” said Roark. “That you can be there to help them whatever the troubles might be.”

Fleming County 911 Director, Charlotte Benton, said it’s more than just answering the phone.

“I don’t think [people] realize what a dispatcher goes through, how much is put on them when someone calls needing help, and the only person they’ve got is that dispatcher on the line,” said Benton.

While the job is rewarding, Benton said it can be a load on her dispatchers.

“We had a shooting in the county, it’s been several years ago,” Benton shared. “Actually, the caller’s wife was killed while we were on the phone with him. It’s kind of your post-stress trauma, and that has stuck with me all these years.”

Having a strong passion for helping people is why her dispatchers show up to work.

“It’s an amazing experience to be able to help people,” said Roark. “To be there in that trying time for them. And no, they usually don’t remember talking to you most of the time, and that’s fine with me.”

Dispatchers are often referred to as the first of the first responders.