Thursday, August 23, 2018

Cell Phone Sally TC Spotlight Blog: Kimberly Gordon from City of Gladewater

1.       Tell me a little bit about yourself: Where are you from, what agency do you work for, how long have you been there and what is your passion for working for 911?
My name is Kimberly Gordon. I am originally from Arkansas, but relocated to Texas back in 1995. My husband, Justin and I are currently in our second year of marriage and our blended family has 7 beautiful adult children and 3 and 3/4's adorable grandchildren. I currently work as the Communications Manager for Gladewater Police Department. I started my Law Enforcement Dispatching Career in 2004 with Gladewater, and have worked for Lancaster, Longview, and Kilgore Police Departments-some even simultaneously, before returning to Gladewater full time to accept this position.
My passion for working for 911 comes from my willingness to help those in need. I enjoy the feeling of knowing that I helped a person either through a difficult situation or maybe provided assistance for the smallest to biggest tasks, sometimes even when it may not have been within my area of expertise.
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.

 While working at one of my previous agencies, I received a call from a gentleman who stated he was down on his luck and wanted to end his life. I spoke to him about the importance of his life not only to his family and friends, but in general. We discussed the fact that he had recently lost his job and was without assistance. I offered him the names of locations that are known to provide assistance until he can get back on his feet. He told me that he was very happy he had spoken to me and decided against proceeding with his suicidal ideations.
On another note, I vividly recall taking a 911 call from a gentleman who was extremely upset because he was locked inside of his car and could not get out. After having him repeat his problem (because I was clearly thinking...are you serious?) I suggested that he try and pull his handle...and of course, he was free. He went on to say that he felt like an idiot for calling...and I just replied "that's what I'm here for!"

3.       What do you think people need to know about the people who answer the phones for 9-1-1?

 If you don't know anything else, please KNOW YOUR LOCATION. That could be an address, intersection, street name, business name, etc. Any major landmark is extremely helpful. Please don't call in and expect the operator to be from that area and know "the pasture that John Doe use to own," or where "Lulu's house" is.

4.       What do you enjoy most about your job and why?
I enjoy being able to interact with people both over the phone and during community events like National Night Out and our Annual Fall Festival. I also love knowing that I am able to provide assistance to local citizens when needed, and being able to help keep my officers safe so that they too can go home to their loved ones.

5.       What do you think is the hardest part about working your job and why?

 I think that the hardest part of my job is managing the stress that is associated with dispatching. You sit in an uncomfortable chair at a workstation with multiple computer monitors for sometimes 12 hours or longer, without a lunch break and very minimal restroom breaks.
Also, not knowing the outcomes of certain calls can be stressful as well. You must possess the right amount of personal interest to handle a call, dispatch the appropriate personnel, and move on to the next call without allowing the circumstances of the call to adversely affect you.
6.       Why do you think it is important for people to have 9-1-1 as a resource for emergency help?
I think that it is important for people to have 9-1-1 as a resource for emergency help because in certain situations, it is a lot easier to dial a 3-digit number than try to recall a full 10 digits. I am also extremely happy about the implementation of text to 9-1-1 especially because now more than ever, people use text messages as their means of communication rather than being willing to hold a phone conversation.

7.       If you could share one piece of advice with the world regarding 9-1-1, what would it be and why?

One piece of advice I would share with the world is to remember that the 9-1-1 operator is human. We share the same qualities as you. We laugh, we cry, we hurt, and though we understand that you may be going through one of the worst situations of your life, we are here to help. There are certain questions that we must ask to ensure not only the safety of our responding emergency units, but we also need to get the appropriate personnel to respond to assist you. For example, you would not want for me to dispatch a police officer to your loved one who is possibly having a heart attack.

8.       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?
I would tell High School Graduates that becoming a 9-1-1 Dispatcher is one of the best decisions I have ever made. Rarely do you find a job making well above minimum wage, without a college degree, that gives you a sense of gratification such as this. You leave every day knowing that you have made a difference in a person’s life by offering assistance at a time that is needed most. I would be honest and say that not every call will be pleasant, but if you have the innate ability to withstand the bad calls, there are more than enough good calls that offer a genuine laugh when you need it most.
I recently read a blog that provided several personality traits that a dispatcher should possess. In summary, it stated that a good dispatcher would need to have a typing speed with “fingers like Mercury”, short term memory, the ability to multi-task, be able to find the happy medium between caring too much and caring too little, and be able to focus on the call that you may be taking at that time. If you possess all of these qualities, you possess the “IT” factor to be able handle this type of job. Dispatchers are like the flock of black sheep in the center of multi-colored sheep. Welcome to the flock!


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

8th Annual NPEF Conference: Another Success in the Books!

At the 8th National Public Safety Educators Conference held in Charleston, South Carolina, public educators from all over the United States joined together to discuss public education initiatives, brainstorm new ideas for PSAs, and truly think outside the box to come up with crafty messages to reach target audiences. This conference is one of a kind due simply to the nature of how it is set up! Attendees did not have to worry about missing any speakers during their time at the conference because all speakers’ sessions were all in one room throughout the entire four-day conference.

This year, attendees had the opportunity to learn how to make a creative Public Service Announcement (PSA) and learned more about Kari’s Law, the 50th Anniversary of 9-1-1 and Real Time Text (RTT), to name a few. The PSAs created by the attendees turned out truly phenomenal and to view them you can visit the Facebook NPEF website here: Attendees also had the opportunity to participate in a bus tour of Charleston during their off-time from the conference.

Almost fifty percent of attendees were newcomers this year, which is always exciting because this is their first opportunity to meet so many 9-1-1 public educators from all over and share ideas to take back home and implement within their communities. This conference provided attendees with tons of ways to be creative in their public education program. Keynote speakers Adam Timm and Trooper Bob did an excellent job of sharing their craft and inspiring those present.

Next year will be the 9th annual conference and will be held in Virginia Beach, Virginia July 14-17, 2019 at the Founders Inn. More information will be coming out shortly so make sure to join NPEF (it’s FREE!) so you will stay updated on when registration will begin and more! Visit to sign up today! You won’t regret it! Below you will find a 2018 wrap up video of this year’s conference- enjoy!