A 911 Dispatcher in Centerville, Maryland recently became the recipient of the Telecommunicator of the Year Award by the Emergency Number System Board and the Maryland Emergency Number Association.
Amanda Stokes had generally been described as the consummate dispatch professional by her superiors during her short time on the job, but it was one particular call that she took last December that likely solidified her as one of the favorites for the honor. On Christmas Day, Stokes took a call at the Centerville Emergency Dispatch Center from a person who was distraught and claiming they were armed and threatening suicide. She says that she heard several shots fired during that call as well as some kind of physical altercation going on. Nevertheless, Stokes was able to use her skill set and professionalism to establish a rapport with the caller.
She got the other person who was in the house to leave without any further incident and eventually managed to talk the suicidal individual out of the house and convince him to surrender his weapon and himself to police.
Last month Stokes received the award and was one of a number of individuals in the state of Maryland to do so. According to her immediate supervisor, Kevin Aftung, it was Stoke’s “calm, reassuring demeanor” that allowed for trust to be established between her and the distraught caller in order for the eventual positive outcome to result.
Aftung also said that Stokes’ actions were being deservedly recognized with the Telecommunicator of the Year Award and that her performance during the call was right in line with the degree of compassion and professionalism that his department aspires to maintain. He says it would have been a harrowing call for even the most seasoned dispatcher to take but that Stokes had only been on the job a few months when she took it.