Assistant 911 Director Darlene Monroe says her Co-Workers were family
Grandview resident Darlene Monroe started a new job in October of 1989 as a police dispatcher for the City of Spring City Police Department. She had no way of knowing that this new job would take her on a 34-year journey in a field that would touch the lives of thousands of people. This job can be a stressful one, but it also is a good feeling to go home at night and know you were able to give someone emergency assistance.
When Darlene began working at Spring City Dispatch in 1989, the local 911 system was very manual in comparison to today’s system. When you answered an emergency call, you had the task of having to literally talk a person through the process of getting all the important information from them about their location, phone number, as well as getting the details of their emergency. There were times that getting all the information needed could be difficult especially if you had a caller who was very young, mentally disabled, or injured to the point that they were incapable of providing you with all the details needed to send help out to their location. All this changed in February of 1992 when the new Rhea County Centralized dispatching center was implemented in Evensville. All countywide dispatchers from the Spring City Police Department, Dayton Police Department and Rhea County Sheriff’s Department all came together for the first time under one roof working as one team of dispatchers. There was one huge difference, now they were equipped with the most modern technology available in telecommunications. The 911 system used today combines modern computer technology along with GPS data systems, so that now when a person calls in an emergency, the 911 system immediately pulls up their phone number and location. Leaving only the task of logging in the details of the call and dispatching the proper emergency assistance immediately.
A few years after Central Dispatch for the county was established, Darlene was promoted to the Assistant 911 Director. Her new duties not only consisted of assisting the 911 Director, but she was also preforming various clerical duties relating to the hiring and training of new dispatchers. Even after her promotion, she could still be heard on the radio dispatching for when an employee was out sick, or a major call was going down. Over the course of her career, Darlene was the assistant for three 911 directors, Al West the original founding director, Charles Riggs which replaced Al West after his retirement, and for the current Director Shane Clark.
During her retirement reception on September 8, 2023, Darlene was recognized by Bo Kaylor the Chairman of the 911 Board as one of the top Assistant Directors in the state of Tennessee. She was presented with a plaque by Bo Kaylor and Shane Clark honoring her many years of dedicated service. “I know I’ve learned a lot from Darlene in my 18 years as director”, Clark stated. Rhea County Executive Jim Vincent stated, “On behalf of Rhea County, I’d like to thank you for giving so much of your life to serve our citizens”.
As Darlene addressed and spoke of her appreciation to all of the attendees of the celebration, she stated, “I was privileged to have been able to work with so many men and women from various departments throughout the county for all these years, we’ve become more like family than co-workers”.
Many members of the various departments throughout the county were on hand to wish Darlene a happy retirement. Darlene’s last official day will be September 15, 2023.
The video below contains Chairman Bo Kaylor’s presentation to Darlene Monroe.
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