Local dispatchers, call takers recognized during state-sponsored week

Metro 911 dispatcher
Posted at 6:04 PM, Apr 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-11 19:42:26-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A group of unsung heroes is getting some recognition this week.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has proclaimed the second full week of April as Public Safety Telecommunicators Week across Tennessee.

During this week, the governor and the Tennessee Emergency Communications Board are honoring those who respond to emergency calls, dispatch emergency professionals and equipment and render life-saving assistance to Tennessee citizens.

At the Metro Emergency Communications Center, Alisa Franklin is coming up on 28 years on the job.

"What I always tell people is before the officer gets there or the paramedics get there, although we can't see the scene we have to do the best to lay the scene out for them before they get there," Franklin said. "[Then] they know if anyone has any weapons, or if the firefighters are coming they know if a door is unlocked or if they're going to do a forced entry when they get there. We're like the blind officer. We lay out the scene based on what the caller tells us."

George Allen works at the same 911 call center. He's learned over his 18 years how to leave work at the office although that can be difficult.

"Once you walk out that door, you have to leave it behind or it just continues to eat at you, and that is something that a lot of the younger dispatchers can't do," Allen said. "They have to know what happened on that call."

Both dispatchers try to approach their jobs with hope in mind.

"It's a rewarding job whenever you're able to send somebody help. It's a rewarding job whenever you're able to do CPR. It's a rewarding job whenever you're able to give instructions to birth babies on the phone," Allen said.

"Knowing that for every bad story, there are probably 20-25 good ones," Franklin said.

There are more than 2,500 dispatchers in the state of Tennessee.