911 dispatcher has 'pride and integrity' in important job

By Kandis Webb

Tonya Logan has worked in public safety for 10 years. She worked in a correctional facility, then as a juvenile corrections trainer, and now she is a dispatcher. The patch on her uniform shirt reads "With pride and integrity." It is with this pride and integrity that she approaches her job as a proud and dedicated Clayton County 911 dispatcher.

She arrives at work by 6:50 a.m. to prepare for her shift. By 7:00 a.m. she is ready to be a hero. At 3:00 p.m., when her shift is over, Logan will have handled 300 emergency calls. So, how does she do it? "You have to have a heart for people," she explains.

While the adrenaline is pumping and the frustration levels rise, she must remain composed. Logan says that often times people don't realize that her job is to be a type of buffer. It is her responsibility to weed out the unimportant information and to relay the necessary information to the either the police, the fire department, or the paramedics. A person who loves children, Logan's most difficult situations are those that involve young people. She says that the hardest part of her job is "separating the emotions from the underlying issue. We can't let our emotions come across. We have to remain level headed."

Experiencing a range of emotions is truly what happened in a prank call situation. While handling calls from children is already difficult for her, she received a call from an 8-year-old boy claiming that his mother had been shot. Jumping to action to save this woman and calm the boy, Logan is sent on an emotional roller coaster. Handling the call as routinely as possible, she is flabbergasted when she hears the boy say, "You got punked!"

Unfortunately, she must handle these calls, too. They are a typical part of her job and she sees a higher rate of prank calls during the summertime when school is out.

There is much stress from her job and Logan spends her off days shopping and reading. She has already put in two years of service as a dispatcher and the stress has not deterred her thus far. Even the prank calls by children have not discouraged her. "I love people, but I really, really, really, love kids." She hopes to work with troubled children so that she may show them that there is a better way. She enjoys "the fruits of rehabilitated troubled youth."

Usually taken for granted, Tonya says that it's rare to receive a call thanking her or her fellow dispatchers for a job well done. 911 dispatch is a critical component to the overall well-being of Clayton County citizens. For Tonya and other dispatchers, it is disappointing to know that their jobs are out of sight and out of mind.

Despite not receiving the much desired acts of appreciation, Tonya knows that her job as a 911dispatcher is important and appreciated in some way. "I really do like helping people." She finds pleasure in knowing that, "Somehow, in the whole big picture I was part of the solution."

If anyone would like to show appreciation for Tonya Logan and the rest of the 911 dispatch team, please contact Kristy Rohm, Operations Supervisor, at 770-473-5989.

If you have a person you think would make a good everyday person to profile in Clayton County, send an e-mail to bpaslay@news-daily.com .