Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
PROVO — Heather Perkins loves to take every opportunity to recognize the members of her team at Provo’s dispatch center.
When a major incident occurs, the teams works so seamlessly together it's impressive to step back and watch how everybody helps each other out, according to shift supervisor Perkins. The dispatch center handles all of the 911 calls that come into Provo, in addition to non-emergency calls for the police department and calls made after hours to various city offices.
Perkins recently had the opportunity to highlight her team at a meeting with the police department. Each week, administrators who want to recognize someone from their department can bring them in to talk about what they did.
Instead of just talking about how well her team worked together during an attempted robbery, Perkins provided her own twist on the recognition by sharing a poem (below) about the incident written in the style of the classic “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” poem. Three of the women on her team — Jennifer Craig, Genevieve Pratt and Adrianna Garza — attended the meeting, and Courtney Jones participated via Skype since she was out of town for training.
If I can make (giving recognition) fun, such as putting it into a weird poem, then it just makes my day even better.
“I love when I get the chance to recognize the awesome job they do and how hard they work and if I can make it fun, such as putting it into a weird poem, then it just makes my day even better,” she said.
Provo Police Lt. Brandon Post said the poem was different from what the department is used to hearing, but cute. The poem was later posted on the department’s Facebook page.
Perkins has been working in dispatch for 14 years. When she first started, she was told that dispatching gets into your blood and you become addicted. That has proved to be true, Perkins said.
“It can be a stressful profession because there is always a certain amount of stress related to dispatching. You just have this knowledge that at any point the phone can ring and you suddenly become a part of someone’s worst day,” she said. “It attracts a very specific type of person. I think if you could walk into any dispatch center in the nation and if you asked any dispatcher why they do what they do, almost across the board unanimous response is people do this job because they want to help people.”
She said working in dispatch is very fulfilling because it allows you to be a part of the community. In addition to helping people by answering calls, Perkins said her team is always looking for opportunities to serve. This year they got together to play the role of Secret Santa for a family of five.
The poem, written by Heather Perkins:
T’was the month before Christmas
and all the cops in town
knew crimes would be rising
as December counts down.
We had bike thefts and break-ins
and retails galore
But the unspoken worry was that there would be more.
Then came last Thursday, the reason we’re here
at noon the call came, that gave voice to the fear.
These dispatchers were ready their headsets in place,
when the lines started ringing at so frantic a pace.
“Help help! We’re a bank” Came the cries from the phone.
“A man was just here, who he was, is unknown.
His head had a wig, a mask covered his face.
He passed us a note ‘cross our counter space.
The note was confusing, causing our teller delay
so he ran for the door for a quick getaway!”
His pace was quite speedy, so lively and quick
We knew that our dispatch must be done in a lick.
More rapid than eagles were cops as they came
as we dispatched, and updated, and called them by name.
“Four delta two one, four se-ven, six five,
CID, ACO, Motor Units! All drive!”
To the bank they all flew, came one and came all
they rushed to give help and to answer the call.
Our team spread out quickly, and soon it was said
We found him. Code 4. There’s no reason to dread.
Pride filled my heart as I saw my team work
and I wanted to thank them and not be a jerk.
So I got them all here and I wrote this lame poem
to say thank you for being my home, far from home.
For they say home is filled with people you love
and these girls are like angels sent from above.
They answer the calls and run radios too.
It’s easy to see they know just what to do.
I’m happy to say that both day and all night,
these girls got you covered, come robb’ry or fight.
So rest easy, sleep well, knowing dispatch does right
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.