South Florida has a lot to be proud of when it comes to its law enforcement personnel and first responders. Like most other places around the country, those in the Miami area carry out their jobs with excellence and dedication and often without much thanks beyond the colleagues within their own departments. But for the emergency dispatchers in Miami Beach, terms like “dedication” and “commitment” are taken to an even higher level. The tight knit group of 911 dispatchers in Miami Beach doesn’t complain that it has to work on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, and in fact, they say they love being able to be available for people who need help.
Dispatchers throughout the Miami-Dade area work 24 hours a day and 365 days a year to answer calls from distressed citizens in need of assistance from police and first responders. According to Shri Lipner, director of Miami Beach Emergency Management, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are just like any other work day, “just with some holiday décor added around the dispatch center.” Lipner says that the police departments and fire departments and paramedic crews all work on the holidays so the 911 dispatchers do too. Tracy Cadet, one of Miami Beach’s many 911 dispatchers, says that she relishes the opportunity to work on the holidays because “that is when people seem to need help the most”.
She says she and her colleague feel that they have a duty to the citizens of Miami Beach and that as an emergency dispatcher, “you have to show some compassion. They are our citizens. We respect them, and we want them to feel comfortable speaking with us.” She says that the Christmas spirit is not hampered at all at the dispatch center during the holiday and that in fact “ we are the Christmas spirit pretty much 365 days a year, because we’re here to help people, and if you’ve got a call or need our assistance, we’re here for you.”