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911 Dispatchers: Unsung heroes in your emergency

4:57 PM, Apr 23, 2013   |    comments
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CLAY COUNTY, Fla. -- When you have an emergency, what is the first thing you do?

Call 911.

But who is the voice on the other side of the phone? Last week was National Telecommunicators Week. But with the Boston Bombings and the explosion in West, Texas, we didn't get a chance to recognize their work.

They are often heard and seldom seen, but they are the calm voice in your emergency. On the other side of every panicked phone call is a 911 dispatcher.  In Clay County, the communications center takes around 4,000 calls a month from citizens and another 18,000 from deputies.

Lori LeRoy is in her 20th year of working as a 911 dispatcher and admits the job can be very tough emotionally.

"I find calls with children are the hardest to take. They get to you," said LeRoy.

She and other dispatchers are not only the life-line for people on the street, but also the deputies they send help.

"What they are giving us is allowing us to apprehend these folks as they are leaving the scene, which is majority of the time the case," said Capt. Anthony Dangerfield with the Clay County Sheriff's Office.

On the other side of the coin, not every call that comes in is an emergency.

"I have gotten a call one night because the frogs were making too much noise behind a woman's house," said LeRoy with a laugh.

They never know what will be on the other end of the phone line, but they will always be there ... ready to help.

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