Evansville 911 Dispatcher Describes Working During the Active Shooter Incident at Walmart
9-1-1 Dispatchers have to multitask, listen to radio traffic, take phone calls, check on officers, and remain calm the entire shift. Dispatchers are often friends with the first responders that they send on calls. When I was a dispatcher, I ended up marrying one of the Deputies on my shift.
Keeping Friends and Family Safe
We had the opportunity to sit down and talk with one of the dispatchers that was working the night of the active shooter call at the Westside Walmart. Imagine sending someone you love into an unknown situation like that. Ugh. It makes me sick just to think about the stress everyone was going through.
I am so thankful for the Walmart employee that gave an excellent description to dispatch, and for the dispatchers that stayed calm and kept track of every detail of the incident.
Read More: GoFundMe Evansville, Indiana Woman Injured in Walmart Shooting
When you call 9-1-1 and the dispatcher asks you a dozen questions, it is to make sure that they aren't sending anyone into an unsafe situation. Calista shares what it's like to stay cool under pressure, even when she is dealing with the most stressful calls.
Scroll Down to Listen to our Exclusive Interview on the MY105.3 Podcast
To the employees of Walmart West and the customers that were present during the active shooter please know our thoughts and prayers are with you. I don't think there are words that will ease your stress, anxiety or pain over this situation. We are sorry that this happened to you. To the deputies, firefighters, officers and EMS personnel that responded we thank you for being there to capture the suspect and to care for the victims. Last but most definitely not least, I personally want to recognize the dispatchers that were working when this happened. We have a good team of employees at Evansville Vanderburgh Central Dispatch but it’s times like these that they truly shine. I know how good they are on a daily basis but these tragic events really show what a good team we have here. It is truly a sight to behold watching them work. They humble me and they make me proud! My thanks to everyone for their work on January 19th and again our thoughts and prayers are with the employees and customers that were on the scene.
This video from our media partner has parts of the 9-1-1 calls from that night:
Are You Up to the Challenge?
If you listened to Calista and you felt inspired to become a 9-1-1 Dispatcher, you are in luck because they are hiring!
9-1-1 Dispatcher Job Description:
Receives emergency 911 calls, general information calls, and radio requests for police, fire and ambulance service; prioritizes complaints and dispatches appropriate agencies and equipment; data entry and records maintenance. Acts promptly in emergencies and under pressure; maintain composure at all times. Works any shift, overtime, weekends and holidays as required. Performs other duties as assigned and assists other employees as required. $22.95 an hour plus benefits