NENA Member Spotlight: Maria Lemonds, ENP
Thursday, January 22, 2015
Posted by: Chris Nussman
This special feature highlights individual NENA Members from various backgrounds, industry segments, experience and geographic locations. It offers members an opportunity to share their story with their colleagues and the greater NENA community. Click here to email NENA Member Services Director Bri Robinson if we should feature you or someone you know.
NENA: Tell us a
little bit about who you are, where you’re from, what you do, and your history
Maria Lemonds: My name is
Maria Lemonds and I have been dispatching with Collin County Sheriff Office for
15 yrs. I moved to TX 22yrs ago after I got married to my husband.
I was a nurse for 7 yrs before I decided this wasn’t for me. A friend
suggested trying to become a dispatcher so I applied at Collin County and
shortly after I started work.
When I first
started I was overwhelmed by all the equipment, phones, radios, computers and
the maps. After working 6 yrs I put in for Supervisor position and have
been a Shift Supervisor since. At which time I also became a NENA member.
Over the last 4 yrs I have been able to become a more active member by helping
on the Texas NENA Conference Committees. I started out on the Gifts
Committee and this past year was happy to be co-chair for sessions which is
where I seem to have truly found my passion. I took the ENP test and was
happy to pass it, during the conference call study sessions I learned a lot
about the behind the scenes stuff. How the call gets where it needs to go
how many people are actually involved in this process. How the radio’s
work (and don’t work) and why. And what could possibly be coming in the
future. At times I truly thought my head was going to explode, from all
the information I was getting.
NENA: What does 9-1-1
mean to you?
ML: 9-1-1 has
become more than just a job to me it is my passion. I truly believe in helping
people and as a 9-1-1 dispatcher we are the first person that anyone speaks to
on their worst day. We are the voice that calms the storm, we are to
caring voice getting help on the way for that elderly person who did not want
to be a burden but is having chest pains. We are the voice to officers
and fire fighters who are out on scene and needing that calming voice to get
them through the call and get their mind off the horror they might be
NENA: What do you
like best about your job?
ML: I have found
another passion during my time under the headset and that is becoming a
trainer. I enjoy teaching the public about 9-1-1 but I have also found great
pleasure in being able to pass on my knowledge of the job. I started as a
training officer at the Sheriff’s office and then was asked if I would like to
help talk about 9-1-1 with the public in the schools and events like National
Night Out. That progressed to talking to our Citizens Academy about 9-1-1
and what our job in dispatch is. Then I became a Associate trainer for
TCIC/NCIC, and TCOLE, and must say I truly enjoy talking to new and seasoned
dispatchers who come to classes.
NENA: Is there a
particular event or call that you are particularly proud of?
ML: One call I am
proud of is, we had gotten a call from a very upset husband whose wife had
called him and told him she intended to commit suicide. She had left the
house and city prior to calling her husband. We got her cell phone number
what type of vehicle she was driving and got everyone on their way. I
started calling cell phone company to ping the phone and get a location.
Once we got the location which was in Oklahoma near the Choctaw Casino, I had
already sent out Region one TTY with a description of the vehicle and
female. I then called Durant OK dispatch to have them check the area.
Two hours after we got the call, the whole time the Melissa PD officers were
with the husband listening to the female as the overdose of medications started
to take their toll. The Durant Ok officers finally found her and got her
to the hospital I am told in just the nick of time. Our Melissa PD
officers tell me I went above and beyond that night and all I can think is
thank god the Durant PD officers found her in time.
NENA: If you could
convey one message to the public about 9-1-1 or being a 9-1-1 professional,
what would it be?
ML: My one message
to the public would be, Don’t rely on technology!!! We still need to know
where to send help when you call 9-1-1. Know your location, especially on
road trips when you really don’t know what the names of streets are be vigilant
know your location. Pocket dialing is a MAJOR problem, please lock your
keypads and put your phone where the emergency button cannot get pushed by
On being a
9-1-1 Professional – I strive to do my very best every day to help to those who
need it, I am an ear for others to just talk when they feel lonely, I am the
voice telling them where to go for the next emergency call, I am the calming
voice for the small child whose parents are fighting again and who is hiding in
a closet until officers arrive. I AM A 9-1-1 DISPATCHER.