The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

April 13, 2013

DeBoer and Bates serve the public

By Samantha Pidde
Herald Staff Writer

---- — CLINTON — Not everyone might know Kay Bates or Marcia DeBoer’s faces.

However, those who have ever called 911 or have an emergency scanner in their homes just might know their voices.

Kay, 58, of DeWitt, and Marcia, 53, of Morrison, Ill., are two of the 12 telecommunicators who serve Clinton County. Both women work the night shift. Kay likes how busy this shift can be.

Kay has worked as a telecommunicator for the county for 21 years. She had been working as a system analyst and was looking for a career where she could talk more to people and was not so isolated. She said the best part of her job is helping people through traumatic and very serious events.

“They don’t call us because they’re having a good day,” Kay said.

The hardest calls for Kay are the CPR calls. She said those often do not have a good outcome. For Marcia, the worst calls are those involving children.

“Because a lot of times we don’t see the outcome,” Marcia, who has worked 19 years as a telecommunicator, said. “We take the beginning of the call. We know what’s going on. And then when the ambulance crew gets there we pass it off to them and you never know what’s going on after that.”

However, Marcia’s best call involved a child. Last September, she helped deliver a baby over the Emergency Medical Dispatch.

Throughout the years, Kay and Marcia have seen many changes in emergency communications. Kay has noticed a recent trend of an increase in social problems. She feels she fields less criminal calls and more calls dealing with juveniles and other situations.

The biggest change for Marcia has been the advances in technology. No longer are they taking calls down with pen and paper. She said the computer-aided dispatch speeds up the process.

Sunday kicks off National Public Safety Telecommunications Week in Clinton. According to the proclamation approved by the Clinton County Board of Supervisors, this week honors the men and women “whose diligence and professionalism keep our country safe.”

Communications Director Eric Dau said Kay and Marcia are excellent employees and that all 12 of his employees do a wonderful job.