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 with NENA….
Heather Butler: My name is Heather Butler from Oregon, IL, I am currently the Communications Supervisor and a 911 dispatcher for the Ogle County Sheriff’s Office. I have worked here for over 8 years and love my job. I got involved with NENA due to our 911 Coordinator being very involved with NENA and sharing the NENA love with us all. She is the one who got me involved in with the TC Caucus.
NENA: What does 9-1-1 mean to you?
HB: 9-1-1 to me means; support, assistance, a calm reassuring voice in a time of need.
NENA: Why did you choose a career in public safety?
HB: I had a police chief who I had known for some time come to me and say the local dispatch center was hiring and he believed I would be good at it. He stated they needed someone who had patience with others, good customer service skills, and could multi task. I applied on a whim and it is now not just a job I applied for but my life career.
NENA: What do you like best about your job?
HB: The unknown; you never know what the shift is going to bring when you first sit down at the beginning of your shift. As a supervisor I enjoy being able to help improve our department as a whole and acknowledge the dispatchers when they do well on a call.
NENA: Is there a particular event or call that you are particularly proud of?
HB: A few years back I had a shut in call advising his best friend has passed away but he couldn’t find any of the information for the services in the paper and was worried he would miss it. Services were only posted online due to the timing and I was able to get him the information he needed. He said I didn’t have to go out of my way to help an old man and he owed me a 7-Up one day. He has called in since and remembers my name and always thanks me for what I do. I will always remember him because he is the type of person that reminds us as dispatchers why we do the things we do.
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?
HB: We are always here to help you when you need it, be patient as we are people just like you, our job is not easy but we do it to help others and take the good with the bad.