National Telecommunicators Week isn’t over yet. There’s still plenty of time to appreciate our first responders who deserve more recognition. Just like most jobs, every telecommunicator has a different story. Just ask Markeshia Washington, who has been working for the City of Baytown for two years.
Markeshia loves her job, but appreciates the challenge each day provides.
She said, “One of the best, and sometimes the worst, things about my job is the unpredictability it involves. You just never know what kind of call you will get when you pick up the phone. I look at each call as a new way to help someone in need and try to prepare myself to handle whatever emergency they may have.”
Telecommunicators will tell you that the job is exhausting mentally and it’s easy to get frustrated. So why do it?
Markeshia said, “I love the pride and accomplishment that comes from working as a dispatcher. We handle tough situations daily and handling them well gives us a huge sense of contentment.”
Every dispatcher has stories they will never forget. For Markeshia, it all began with a call on March 17, 2022.
She said, “In the middle of the night, I can get a call from a man whose wife had gone into labor. I had to give him instructions to help him complete a successful delivery. A large part of our job is helping people on the worst day of their lives, so it feels great to talk to someone on one of their happiest days too.”
Like others, family is important to Markeshia. She said it’s the driving force on those tough days.
Markeshia said, “They feel safer when I’m at work and they are really proud of the work that I do. What keeps me going is knowing my family and loved ones might someday need to call 9-1-1. I always strive to be the kind of call-taker that I would want them to have.”
Markeshia plans on working in some aspect of public safety for the rest of her career. She also has some advice should you ever have to call her for help.
She said, “Unfortunately, it’s not as easy to find a caller’s location as television would make you believe. We work hard to exhaust our resources to locate every caller, but sometimes we can only get within a certain range. Technology isn’t as advance as we all would hope.”
Thank you for sharing your story with the rest of Baytown Markeshia. We are lucky to have you as part of our Public Safety Communications team.