SACRAMENTO- When a worried father called 911 in January to ask for help after his son sent text messages in which he was threatening to kill himself, California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) Member and CHP Public Safety Dispatcher Elizabeth Yelton went above and beyond the call of duty to find the son, call him, and speak to him until officers could make contact with him.
"Public Safety Dispatchers have the very difficult task of helping out in a situation they cannot see visually," said CSLEA President Alan Barcelona. "They are in a dimly lit room, looking at a computer screen and all that is being relayed to them is coming through their headsets. To grab a handle of a life-threatening situation like that and have a positive outcome is a reflection of the dedicated men and women who work in the CHP Communications Centers."
This emergency call for help required the work of several people in the Fresno Communications Center. Together they were able to find where the suicidal person was located. Dispatcher Yelton made a point to call the son herself and speak to him in a soft, compassionate and understanding demeanor, preventing him from hurting himself. She documented the information she was obtaining in the CAD log, including ideas of where he might be based on their conversation, which was immediately relayed to the radio dispatcher for broadcast to responding field units. She stayed on the line with him until officers arrived and were able to transport him to those who could help him with his mental well-being.
"This exemplifies the care and forward thinking of dispatchers as they handle emergencies," said CHP Public Safety Dispatchers Association (CHP-PSDA) President Tina Brazil. "There's no question in my mind that dispatchers and operators save lives. They change potential outcomes that can hurt or destroy lives and families. I'm very proud of our CHP dispatchers."