My name is Hilary Verduzco I work for the Aransas County Public Safety Center and I just hit my 3 year mark. To be honest I didn’t dream of being a dispatcher or a 911 operator I just sort of stumbled upon the job. I did want to do something in the field of criminal justice and earned a bachelor’s degree so when I was job searching I came across the listing for this position. I am the type of person who loves to help people in any way possible. This job fulfills the need of helping people by getting my citizen the answer or helping them find the answer to their problem. As a dispatcher I get to work with officers, deputies, DPS, fire department, ems, investigators and citizens so having us all work together to help our community is what I love the most. I love to be challenged and my mind gets restless when I don’t have something to do, with this job I get to work on a multitude of tasks which is sometimes stressful but it keeps me on my toes. All of the challenges and different situations we deal with as dispatchers keeps my passion for 911 alive.2. I’m sure you hear a lot of interesting stories when answering calls, but what is one story that sticks out in your head that might have been scary, but turned out funny and/or everything worked out after the call.
It’s hard to remember all of the interesting calls or stories that come across dispatch but one of the more recent ones was a child, I’d say about 8, who called 911 and said that he was alone and was scared he didn’t know where his dad was. He also didn’t know what the exact address of where he was so I proceeded to get any info on his parents so that I could contact them to see what was going on. He gave his mother’s name and phone number so I called her on our non-emergency line and it turns out she lived in another state! She started to panic and wonder what was going on as well. I advised her everything was okay we just needed the fathers information now since that was his house. The mother also told me that the child’s grandmother and cousin also lived with the child’s father so she would try to contact them as well. While I was gathering all of this information the officer was dispatched to the residence and was attempting to locate the child. It turns out that the grandmother and another family member was asleep in another room, the child was okay after all. This is an example of how our emotions go from one end to the other thinking this child was in danger or the parents weren’t watching their children to they were just asleep in another room. That was one of the few calls where we as dispatchers actually get some closure or learn the outcome of a call.3. What do you think people need to know about the people who answer the phones for 9-1-1?
A lot of people need to know that, for our agency, the people who answer 911 are people just like you, we have lives and families and problems that we are struggling with along with doing our jobs so a small amount of consideration and respect can go a long way with us. We are a consolidated Communications Center; therefore, we dispatch for multiple agencies and we deal with everything that goes on in our community from funeral escorts to school zone traffic control, from medical emergencies to structure fires, from after-hours water payments to cows in the roadway and everything in between. We are not “All Knowing” we cannot make an officer appear in front of you within seconds and we cannot read minds. We try to do things as fast and accurate most importantly as safely as possible for everyone involved so bear with us.4. Why do you think it is important for people to have 9-1-1 as a resource for emergency help?
911 is an important resource to have for emergencies. 911 is the easiest number to remember and hopefully it is instilled in most of our brains by now. Any phone in or out of service is able to dial 911 so anyone and everyone can reach help if needed. 911 is a great resource when you are alone, for me this is the most important time for 911. Since there is no one else around to help you with whatever you are going through, it allows you to get the help you need.5. If you were talking to kids graduating high school who were not sure what field that wanted to go into, what would you tell them about your job and why it is such a fulfilling and worthwhile job?
If you are looking into a career as a Telecommunications Operator, you want to help people and are good at multi-tasking and do well under pressure, then this is the job for you. There are plenty of opportunities to see how it all works through sit-ins or doing a ride-along. I really wanted to help people and I was very interested in criminal justice but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be a police officer. I looked at different career paths like a case worker for child support, although there is a need for caseworkers to look into children’s situations and their job is so very important, it just didn’t stick. Another option I thought of was a Juvenile probation officer, at the time of my job search there weren’t too many openings in my area. When I came across the dispatcher position I ended up loving it its exciting and challenging, you will not be bored and first responders are always needed!