Jackie Wright could have retired years ago, but she really likes talking with people.
More importantly, she loves helping them, and there’s opportunity galore for both as a KCPD call taker.
“It’s rewarding,” Wright said. “More often than not, I feel I’ve done a good thing here. I think people would like it if they come and give it a shot.”
KCPD’s Communications Unit is currently short 27 call takers and dispatchers. There’s a natural ebb and flow, but Wright believes staffing’s been most challenged since COVID. She would know. Wright joined KCPD in July of 1991.
“Those were the days when you could walk in, go to personnel, and see what’s on the board,” Wright said. “I walked in off the street, applied, and got in.”
Over the decades, the technology has changed. The purpose of the position hasn’t. Wright answers 911 and non-emergency calls, quickly finding out what the caller needs and how she can help.
Always top of mind for her is officer safety.
“I’m support staff for the police officers,” Wright said. “Everything I do, every question I ask is to also keep them safe.”
Wright is proud of the service she has given answering the phone time and again when someone has called. That person could be calm, could be seeking information, or could be having the worst moment of their life, and the first person they talk to is Wright.
“A lot of times people call and their parents have just died, or their children have just died, or someone’s been shot,” Wright said. “You’re in an intimate space with people that most people don’t get to be.”
She treasures her responsibility so much, Wright trains new employees in the Communications Unit. There is no slowdown for her. Not for someone naturally interested in others. Not after almost 32 years.
Wright plans to continue call taking because she enjoys and values helping others.