Taking care of family, whether at home or on the job, is just part of Carolyn Lewis’ DNA. Carolyn, who is the Quality Assurance (QA) Training and QA Supervisor for the 9-1-1 Operations Center of the Beaumont Police Department, has dedicated the last 27 years to making sure her ‘family’ goes home safe every day.
“What’s important to me and my team,” she says, “is that we do our job in a timely and effective manner and that we are never the cause that would bring harm to officers or citizens.” For Carolyn, it’s much more than coming to work and doing a job. “We spend more time here than we do at home and so the people we work with, the officers we protect, are family.” So too are the dispatchers.
Carolyn, who was born and raised in Beaumont, TX, remembers one of the hardest times in her career. “We had a dispatcher whose baby was born six weeks early and passed away on his due date. When she returned to work, it seemed as though every call she took for weeks and weeks was about the death of a child. It was so hard to watch and know that each of those calls triggered what she was going through all over again. You feel helpless. If you have never lost a child, what can you say? I lost my brother when he was 21 to colon cancer, and my mother said that losing a child is the worst that can happen to a parent. All you can do is be there and offer your support. We were all there for her – ready to help however we could.” The team rose to the occasion again last week.
During a training course, one of the employees became seriously ill. Carolyn explains, “She fell out of the chair onto the floor. Two of the dispatchers got on the floor with her. All of us started taking care of her. Everyone in that room had a role to play. We could have panicked, but we didn’t. This was our little sister, and we were going to make sure we took care of her. I was so proud to be with my family in that room. We were the ones providing the service – and for our own.”
Situations like these remind Carolyn just how proud she is to work for the department. It’s their support and understanding of one another that help them rise to the challenges of their jobs every day.
“I want people to know that the voices they hear on the other end of the phone when they make that call to 9-1-1 are here to help them to the best of our abilities. But they should also know those voices may also have gone through horrible incidents, even had experiences like those of callers. Still, they come to work and give the best of themselves and offer the best service possible.”
Doing her best is what Carolyn strives for every day, holding high standards for herself. “I try my hardest to keep a positive attitude, even when the situation is full of sadness and sorrow. You just have to learn to roll with the punches and play the hand you are dealt as best as possible.”