The First first-responders

Published 4:00 pm Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Last week was National Public Safety Telecommunications Week, check back each day as we highlight the work these dispatchers do.  

BROOKHAVEN — Before law enforcement, fire or emergency medical services are ever dispatched the first first-responder takes the call. In Lincoln County, it could be one of 15 employees at the Lincoln County E911 office. 

Dispatch at the Lincoln County E911 Office is the thin yellow line serving as a connection between the community and emergency services. Vicki Magee is Lincoln County’s dispatch supervisor. 

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She said they are staffed with 12 full-time dispatchers, two part-time dispatchers and herself, with the dispatchers working a rotation. Sara Beth Reeves is one of the veteran employees of the job. She has worked in dispatch for nine years and celebrated that anniversary on April 23, 2024.  

Alanna Smith has worked in dispatch for five years with Brookhaven Police Department and moved to E911 with the transition of City and County combining dispatch. Smith took on the calls for the police department, Peyton Myers took 911 calls and dispatches EMS and the eight Volunteer Fire Departments and Reeves took on calls for the Lincoln County Sheriffs Office Tuesday afternoon. 

Lincoln County Emergency Management Agency Director Chris Reid said dispatchers are the most under appreciated first responders. Magee, Myers and Smith stated people have said disparaging comments to them about how they just answer phones. 

“People have no clue what we go through. It isn’t just physical, it is mentally challenging too,” Reeves said.