Former Church Secretary Now Helping Save Lives Over The Phone
Publish Date 03/14/2023
Going on a ride-along with a police officer cured Annie Casey’s boredom.
She didn’t want to be an officer, but the ride-along revealed something exciting and needed – call taking and dispatching at KCPD.
“I was a church secretary and took care of the newsletter and tithe,” Casey recalled. “Coming onboard was a big culture change for me.”
For 18 years, Casey has picked up the phone when people in crisis have needed help, often times dire. Last year, Casey stayed on the phone with a young lady who was thinking of taking her own life. The 16-minute conversation was long enough for help to arrive. Casey treasures these experiences, though there are some challenges.
In 2022, KCPD’s call takers and dispatchers answered almost 1 million calls, averaging 2,700 calls per day. Short-staffed, they unfortunately also answer calls that tie up 911 when they shouldn’t.
“They’ll ask, ‘Do I have a warrant?’” Casey demonstrated. “‘Can you give me directions? Is the Courthouse open?’”
These types of phone calls tie up 911 for people having real emergencies, and needing 30 positions filled, Casey and her co-workers are consistently busy. At the moment, six people are training to join her Communications Unit. That’s a small relief, but one that’s welcome.
Call takers and dispatchers share a bond of service. They’re the necessary first point of contact, and this connection forms a special comradery.
“I have fun here,” Casey said. “My co-worker, who sits right behind me, and I have been making lists of what we’re grateful for and just trading them with each other.”
Approaching her 19-year anniversary at KCPD, Casey calls her role challenging and rewarding. She’s thankful for the great benefits, the future pension, the meaning, and the friends call taking has given her.