The voice on the other end

Published 10:49 pm Friday, April 18, 2014

Katie Gray received the Dispatcher of the Year award at an awards ceremony earlier this week.

Katie Gray received the Dispatcher of the Year award at an awards ceremony earlier this week.

Katie Gray comes from a long line of public safety personnel.

Her grandfather was a police officer, and her father was a volunteer firefighter. Having grown up in that environment, she knew she wanted to continue in the family tradition.

“But I knew with my size, I wouldn’t be good as a paid firefighter,” the diminutive Gray said.

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So Gray, at the age of 20, signed on as an emergency dispatcher. This week, a mere three years and eight months later, she was honored as the Suffolk Dispatcher of the Year at the Suffolk Police Department’s Awards Ceremony on Monday.

The award also happened to fall during National Telecommunicator Week, designated by congressional resolution in 1991.

Gray answered more than 2,000 911 calls last year alone. She is also a certified trainer and is working on her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.

A Franklin resident, Gray said her most memorable calls usually involved children. She recalled one in particular where a 7-year-old called 911 for a medical emergency.

“They’re sometimes the calmest,” she said.

The most challenging part of the job, she added, is not getting too emotional.

“You don’t want it to take over and get in the way of being able to do the job,” she said.

Her favorite part of the job is the people, she said, including her co-workers as well as the police officers and firefighters.

The nomination for Gray to receive the award noted that she is always willing to work with others and always earns high marks on customer service surveys.