Remembering dispatchers during National Telecommunicators Week

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SEDGWICK COUNTY, Kan. (KAKE) -

"Sedgwick County 911, what is the location of your emergency?"

That's the question Mitchell Garner asks over and over everyday. He's one of the many people in Sedgwick County who are on the other end of the phone when you call 911.

"We're the people that are always there, that they expect to answer the phone," says Mitchell Garner. 

After 32 years, Garner says he's pretty much heard it all. 

"Anything from my child has a bean stuck up their nose, to my husband's having a heart attack," says Garner.

Garner remembers this day last year when Deputy Robert Kunze was shot and killed.

"I talked about us having to hold it together. The team that day had to hold everything together to get help to him as quickly as possible," says Garner. 

Garner says sometimes it's what happens after he hangs up that can be the most stressful.

"A lot of times, we know if paramedics transport the patient, but we never know if they recover," says Garner. 

Dispatchers are responsible for answering the calls of over 500,000 people in Sedgwick County 24 hours a day, every day of the year. In 2018, they answered more than 695,000 calls. 

Garner says he feels appreciated inside the walls where he works, but that isn't always the case everywhere else.

Sedgwick County is currently looking for more dispatchers. You can apply here.

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