National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week
You may hear “911. Where’s your emergency” on one side of the phone but you never see the face of the person who is your lifeline to getting help. News 25’s Laurene Callander gives us a look at some of the heroes who play a critical role behind the scenes but were honored publicly today as part of National Public Safety Telecommunications Week.
“911. Where’s your emergency.” Crystal Cravens answered the phone with the same phrase around midnight in late October, never expecting to receive the first word of the missing plane in Jackson County. The Gulfport dispatcher worked diligently through her 12 hour shift, calling multiple hangars, tracking the passenger’s cell phone signals, and contacting family members of the men on the plane. “I contacted Tina, who was the wife of one of the people on the plane, She had called us first and I tried to keep in touch with her to give her updates on where we were and where we were finding everything and patched her through to whoever needed to be spoken to at the time,” said Craven.
Cravens’ efforts did not go unnoticed. She was honored at the Gulfport Police Departments award ceremony for going above and beyond. “If one of my family members went missing, I would hope that someone else would do the same for me and if I went missing, I’d want somebody else to do the same for me. I would want someone with that mindset to be on my side,” said Cravens.
With this being National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, dispatchers are often underappreciated, even though they are the lifeline between the police and the community. Dispatch Supervisor Lori Guardia said, “They’re the unsung heroes. People don’t ever call us when they’re happy. They’re always upset. We’re kind of the middle man so we get the public, who is upset, and then the officers are trying to get there and we have to be sure to get all the right information.”