Laredo Police recognize 911 operators

Published: Apr. 12, 2022 at 10:14 AM CDT
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LAREDO, TX. (KGNS) - All this week law enforcement entities nationwide are recognizing 911 operators for helping thousands during their urgent time of need.

You might not see them at the crime scene or out on the streets; however, 911 operators save thousands of lives based on the calls they receive on a daily basis.

Local operator Andrea Flores sits in in the office for many days on end.

She says that sometimes she can handle six conversations at a time from people in distress and is able to calm them down.

Flores says, “It’s not an easy task and it’s not definitely for anybody. It takes somebody with patience it’s for somebody who really loves their job and to be here because there’s a lot of studying behind it. It’s not just for you to come in and take over the phone.”

For Andrea, being a 911 operator means using her voice to help others in their time of need.

During her time on the calls, she has heard everything from young kids reporting incidents to the elderly needing help.

In order to become the voice of reason, candidates must go through a rigorous training in order to become an operator.

Flores says, “There’s a lot of studying behind it, it’s not just to come in and answer the phone. There’s a lot of certifications that you need to do, you need to take a state license in order for you to answer the phone or even to be able to touch our radios, so there’s a lot of courses that needs to take before you become a certified telecommunicator.”

Laredo Police Investigator Joe Baeza says one of the most challenging times operators lived through was during the pandemic.

He says they were attending calls, answering Covid-related questions, and even stayed long hours when they were short-staffed.

Andrea and her colleagues will continue to provide their voice to help those in need 24/7 however -- there is one thing Andrea wishes to share with all Laredoans who have the opportunity to cross paths with a 911 operator.

She just asks that you show them some appreciation and remember that they are available to help as much as possible.

National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week first started in 1981 by Patricia Anderson of the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office in California.

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