‘I love what I do:’ 18-year Lexington dispatcher honored for her work

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – A long-time Lexington dispatcher is the newest state winner of telecommunicator of the year.

“There were days, hard days, that I would go home crying and not want to come back,” award-winner and 911 Supervisor Heather Moncrief said.

She said this was her reality at the beginning of her career. It’s a story she tells dispatchers about her early years, so that they know the job gets better over time.

“It gets easier,” Moncrief said. “It’s never easy, but you learn how to do the job. You learn what you need. You learn you just have to have patience.”

For 18 years now, Moncrief’s voice has been one of the first ones people in the city hear when they’re having an emergency. She doesn’t take the responsibility lightly, and reminds fellow dispatchers that they shouldn’t either.

“Listen, be kind, help and understand that this is the worst day of somebody’s life even if it doesn’t seem like it’s anything to you,” Moncrief said.

She said it’s tough, and she has to expect the unexpected, but one of the biggest challenges is the unknown.

“Sometimes we don’t know what happened at the end of that call,” Moncrief said. “We don’t know if that person survived.”

That’s why she tells her staff to give themselves grace, walk away if needed, but come back calm and ready to help the next person.

“Everybody is human, and you hear things that people probably shouldn’t hear every day,” Moncrief said.

Her passion and dedication is what landed her the 2021 telecommunicator award, which is given out annually by the Kentucky chapter of a national safety communicator group, but she credits her support system for why she’s been able to do what she loves for all these years.

“Recognition is awesome, but we’re all a team, and without my team, I couldn’t do what I do.”

Moncrief said if you’re passionate about helping people, apply to Lexington dispatch.

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