Dispatch 3HOPKINS COUNTY, Ky. (4/19/19) — Tucked away in the basement of Historic Hopkins County Courthouse in Madisonville, a group of 14 dispatchers serve as the public’s lifeline at Madisonville-Hopkins County Central Dispatch.

They are acknowledged each year for the endless work they do behind the scenes — taking emergency 911 calls, guiding law enforcement, paramedics, firefighters and utility crews to locations where people need assistance.

Several visitors, including police officers and emergency officials, were dropping off baked goods, sandwiches and other small tokens of appreciation this week during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week.

Dispatcher Lisbeth Mares, named Dispatcher of the Year for the past two years in a row, has been a voice on duty for 3.5 years. Her favorite part of the job is being able to help others in time of need.

“When they call and thank you, it’s the highlight of your day,” she said.

Mares unwinds from the hectic day shift, which is the busiest times for calls, by listening to music and letting everything go on her way home. She likes to spend time outdoors, weather permitting, with her 4-year-old son and husband.

Dispatchers in Madisonville work 12-hour shifts totaling 48 hours one week and 36 the following week.

Dispatch 2

Dispatcher Brittany Janes of Crofton has served at Central Dispatch for 1.5 years, noting some things that may seem small to the person behind the headset could be a significant matter for others.

Regarding some of the hardship calls they receive in a given day, Janes said dispatchers are still human and have feelings, but try not to get wrapped up in it. They train constantly to keep up with technology and how to handle emergency situations — no matter how large or small.

Janes said she “detoxes” on her drive home to release thoughts related to a day at work.

Denise Huddleston (seated in photo below) has been on the console for a decade, saying being a dispatcher has job security qualities.

“Dispatchers are always needed,” she said, adding “years of training” keeps her cool on the headset. “You get used to it all.”

Dispatch 1

Supervisor Robert Littlepage has likely been in public safety dispatch longer than most, totaling 27 years. He started out as a Kentucky State Police dispatcher.

He recalled the days when all dispatchers had in front of them was a typewriter and a piece of paper, noting things have evolved greatly over the years, particularly in GIS mapping, phone and internet technology.

“Everything is web-based driven,” he said, including the E-warrants information system, which eliminates travel from one office to the next with a touch of a keyboard to verify information.

Littlepage said they are working to obtain a grant for a Nextgen phone system at Central Dispatch that will allow the center to communicate with every agency in Kentucky.

All Kentucky dispatch agencies including Kentucky State Police posts, are honoring their “heroes behind the headsets,” described by KSP as a vital link in keeping law enforcement officers and the public safe 24-7.

More than 200,000 individuals serve as dispatchers across the U.S.

The following dispatchers were honored locally this week for their dedicated service:

Emily Carlton — seven years
Whitley Foster — 2.5 years
Denise Huddleston — 10 years
Brittany Janes — 1.5 years
Charis Key — six years
Robert Littlepage — 27 years
Lisbeth Mares — 3.5 years
Jessica Osborne — one year
Jessica Parish — eight years
Marlo Qualls — seven years
Marilyn Quarles — 12 years
Angela Thomas — .5 years
Sherry Wheatley — 11 years
Summer Williams — .5 years

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