Dispatchers share stories with #IAM911 - KXXV Central Texas News Now

Dispatchers share stories with #IAM911

(Source: MGN) (Source: MGN)
CENTRAL TEXAS, TX (KXXV) -

Dialing 9-1-1 is the potentially life-saving call one can make in an emergency.

A new social media movement, called #IAM911, is trying to reclassify the job of a dispatcher from clerical to protective. 

Dispatchers from across the country are using social media to promote the #IAM911 campaign. 

Sandy Bickel, the Communications Records supervisor for the Woodway Public Safety Dispatch Center, has been a dispatcher for 15 years. She said dispatchers are the lifeline for people and are emotionally invested in their jobs.

"It gets emotional for the dispatchers," said Bickel. "The one that sticks out to me was this little boy had called in in December and he’d found his father had hung himself. And he was a strong boy who cut his father down and called 9-1-1 while he watched over his brother and waited for us to get there."

Misty Gammel, the Communications Supervisor for Hewitt PD, said dispatchers never know what to expect when the phone rings.

"I took a phone call from an elderly woman. She was telling me she woke up and her husband had passed away in the night. He was blue, he wasn’t breathing," Gammel said. "I can hear her on the phone telling her husband she loves him and she’s going to miss him. And that she loves the life they have together and the children they have together."

"After the call was over, I had to be relieved because I had just recently lost my husband. I had to walk away," Gammel said. "I was mourning for her loss and mine because it brought to home what I'm doing and how much it matters to someone else. Because I had to place that same phone call just a little bit before."

Bickel and Gammel said dispatchers train for months before they even take the first phone call, but the government still classifies them as clerical jobs.

"To say we're strictly clerical is insane," Gammel said. "Clerks don't have the training that we do to talk to people."

The Woodway Public Safety Department is looking to hire a dispatcher

If you would like to help reclassify a dispatching job from clerical to protective, contact your elected officials in Washington. The deadline for public comment is September 20, 2016.

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