In Honor of National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) and its affiliate, CHP-Public Safety Dispatchers Association (CHP-PSDA) are featuring members and saying thank you to ALL public safety dispatchers and communications operators.
Here are some thoughts from Public Safety Dispatcher Shannon Timmons, public safety dispatcher at the CHP Golden Gate Communications Center. Thank you, Shannon!
What is one of your most memorable 911 calls?
Very early in my career, I was speaking with a citizen who had witnessed a man working on his car, when the car fell off the jacks and ran over him. My caller was traumatized until he said, “Wait! He got up.” The caller then asked the man if he was ok. I could hear the man speaking to the caller but could not hear what he said. The caller said, “He said he’s ok! He looks great except there are tire marks on his t-shirt!”
What is one of your most memorable calls on the radio?
The ones I remember most, are usually the ones I want to forget.
If there is a “second career” in your future, what will it be?
I would like to be a teacher.
Do you have a quirky sense of humor as a result of your experiences and how you deal with them?
Oh yes. I find if I am with company who do not work in this field, I bite my tongue a lot!
Have you ever had a 911 caller seek you out to say thank you?
Not that I am aware of.
What is one of the most ridiculous calls you have received?
A lady called because she was missing items from her grocery bag, she wanted the police to go pick up the other bag.
What is an accomplishment you are most proud of as it relates to your career?
I have held several successful fund raisers to assist my peers. I was selected as employee of the year 2 times.
How do you relieve the stress?
I like to walk and do crafts. They both help a lot.
Best advice you have received from a fellow dispatcher?
Don’t take it personal.
Your thoughts on being formally recognized in California as a first responder?
It doesn’t make much of a difference to me, as I have always known my chosen career is very important.
Your favorite thing to bring to work with you or have on your desk?
A picture of my family.
What made you choose this as your career?
Because I answered a newspaper ad! But then I found I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.