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This week honors dispatchers, the 'unsung heroes of safety and law enforcement' for help they're providing

Posted at 4:49 PM, Apr 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-13 18:32:01-04

Their jobs have changed so much in just a matter of weeks.

"We try to answer as best we can because everything keeps changing daily,” said dispatcher Rhonda Tyree.

Tyree has been a dispatcher with the Cleveland post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol for more than two decades.

She says they’ve been getting fewer calls for emergencies and crashes because fewer people are traveling, but so many more calls for coronavirus-related information.

"People are scared right now, they want the questions answered,” said Tyree. “We don’t always have the right answer, but we can find out.”

People want to know where they are allowed to travel, if they can to come back to Ohio, if the grocery stores are open and just generally the latest updates.

Dispatcher Michelle Hoover said they "take the time to listen, hear their concerns and then try to come up with the best answer possible to make them feel safe in this time."

Hoover has been on the job for about two and a half years. She says the entire unit watches the daily news conferences with Governor Mike DeWine and keeps up with what’s going on nationally so they can give out accurate and up-to-date information.

"This is just more in a sense of trying to keep the public as calm as possible during this time,” said Hoover.

When their are emergencies, the dispatchers said they are taking extra steps to keep the officers they send out there safe.

"We start off basically asking the who, what, where, when why, what’s going on? Then we proceed into just during this time we just have to ask you a few questions regarding COVID-19, have you yourself been in exposed to anyone, is anyone in your vehicle been exposed?” said Hoover.

It's National Public Safety Telecommunications week, so what a better time to acknowledge dispatchers than now. Cleveland Post Commander of the State Highway Patrol location Lt. Rob Gable couldn’t stop singing their praises.

"They endure some tremendous things and that we just don’t think about; they are the unsung heroes of safety and law enforcement. They are the ones who do their jobs that keeps us hopefully as safe as we can possibly be out there,” Gable said.

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