A true calling: Being an RCMP dispatcher can be rewarding

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By Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Tucked away on the second floor of the North District RCMP detachment is a spot that could truly be called the nerve centre for policing in northern B.C.
At any given time about a dozen men and women are fielding calls of concern received through the 911 service and relaying the messages to the officers out in the field while at the same time coaxing as much information as they can from people who, in the worst of cases, are fearing for their very lives.
Stressful, emotional, taxing - being a dispatcher is all that and then some. But rewarding too.
"I love it," said Megan during a break between calls at the centre. (We're not providing last names for safety reasons).
After years of working on contract, she started looking for something more secure as she approached midlife and gave dispatching a look. That was about eight years ago and she hasn't looked back.
"Every call's going to be different, every radio dispatch is going to be different," she said.
After about a decade in marketing, Laryssa wanted to make a living in something less mundane. When she heard about dispatching through a cousin of a woman who worked as one, she decided to give it a try.
As of August, she's been a dispatcher for five years.
"It was kind of on a whim. I was looking for something new, I was bored where I was and wanted a new job. I wanted to do something that helped people and I thought about becoming a regular member as well, but for my lifestyle, this kind of just fit better.
"I found that the adrenalin is what keeps me here, like when you kind of get those big calls."
By November, Mo will have been a dispatcher for 21 years.
"It's an interesting job, there are a lot of facets to it," he said. "One of the things people perceive is that you just answer phones for a living. No, it's more than that...continued.

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