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Sunday, Apr. 20, 2014

Neighborhood stories: Dispatcher enjoys excitement of job

Monday, March 22, 2004

(Photo)
Teresa Kindred, a dispatcher at Sikeston Department of Public Safety
SIKESTON - It's exciting, adrenalin-pumping, satisfying and irritating all at once. But that's what Teresa Kindred says she experiences every day as a dispatcher for the Sikeston Department of Public Safety.

Kindred got her start with DPS back in April 1986 when she joined the Sikeston Cadets to assist with the Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo.

"The main reason I decided to join the Cadets was to meet the stars that were going to be performing at the rodeo," Kindred recalled. But it wasn't long until she realized she had found her calling.

"Once I began I was hooked and started to love what I was doing. And with the other officers urging me to join the Department it wasn't long until I started my training for dispatcher," Kindred said.

During Kindred's training she learned the company's policies and procedures along with how to work with the equipment the dispatchers use.

"We use what is called a CAD System, which means Computer Aided Dispatch," Kindred explained. This system requires the use of several monitors with several things going on at once. "We have to be on our toes at all times, because we never know what the next call will be and what resources we will need to use," Kindred said.

This CAD System lets Kindred know who is calling her and where that person is located before she answers.

"This let's me dispatch the resources that need to be on a scene faster, and allows us to save valuable time that could mean life or death," Kindred said.

Along with answering the 911 and non-emergency calls, Kindred arranges funeral escorts and works in the command post at the rodeo.

August will mark Kindred's eighth year as a DPS dispatcher. Those years have given her some experiences that will stay with her for a lifetime.

"My most memorable phone call is my first suicide call," Kindred explained. "The man told me he was going to shoot himself because he had just broken up with his girlfriend and had the gun to his head. He told me he had been drinking and was going to do it. It took me almost 30 minutes to convince him that it wasn't worth taking his life, and to put the gun down and step outside so the officers could help him."

Kindred continued: "I maintained my composure throughout the phone call, but once it was over I couldn't hold my emotions in. But there's nothing more rewarding than knowing I just saved this man's life."

When asked how she keeps her work from interfering with her family Kindred said, "I have to read a lot to calm my nerves, and listen to upbeat music after work to take my mind of the day."

Kindred stressed she isn't the only one behind the scenes. "We work together here at the station, when a situation comes up we pull all our resources together and handle it as a team. Yes we are trained individually, but we perform as a team," Kindred explained.

Kindred says they have a motto as dispatchers: "Dispatchers Save Seconds and Seconds Save Lives."

And she offers the public a piece of lifesaving advice. "Remember when you call 911, try to stay calm and speak clearly," she said. "It saves time on how fast we can dispatch officers and get the important information we need that could possibly save your life."