Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office
When we honor heroes, we often look to the first responders and military personal out in the field, albeit well-deserved honors, but there are plenty unsung heroes — behind the scenes — who act as a ‘lifeline’ to those brave men and women in the field, such as dispatchers.
“Our dispatchers are our lifeline to our deputies. They don’t have to just keep track of where just one deputy is out; they have to keep track of all of them and know the status of what’s going on with them,” says Terrebonne Parish Sheriff Office (TPSO) Col. Terry Daigre. “Without a doubt, our dispatchers are the lifeline for our deputies out there on the streets…”
Dispatchers are vital for not only the safety of first responders arriving on the scene but also the callers who request assistance. It takes the most reliable and dedicated individuals to assess high-pressure situations, communicate with those in an emergency, stay calm and relay the essential information through the proper channels.
One such dedicated and reliable individual is TPSO dispatcher Sgt. Debbie Maisog.
When Debbie started with TPSO in 1997, she had no idea what being a dispatcher meant, but she quickly gained appreciation for her job.
“I really didn’t know what I was walking into, but once I got in, I loved it. If it’s really for you, you can’t leave it cause it’s more than just a job,” the Houma-native says. “The thing that I like the most is the feeling I get after I actually helped someone, no matter what the call may be, just knowing that I actually helped that person is a good feeling.”
Debbie truly loves being a dispatcher and helping people, although the job has come with fair share of heartbreak over the years, especially with the loss of fellow officers during her career.
“There’s been times when you answer calls and you shed tears in here. It depends on the call and then, the emotions…We’ve had officers that we’ve lost; that was really, really hard,” she shares. “…I think the angels help with all that. You just get through it, go on and then you come back the next day.”
Because of her reliability and resiliency, Debbie was made supervisor of the department seven years ago. During her time guiding her group of 12 dispatchers, Debbie has been applauded for her leadership.
“Debbie is a great leader. She has all the knowledge that she needs to run that division correctly, says Terry. “She has the supervisor’s skills for it and the right demeanor to deal with the employees and the public.”
“She jumps in as much as she can, when she can,” adds Ashleigh Dupre, who has been a dispatcher in Debbie’s division for nearly five years. “If you have a question, you know you can go to her.”
Although those around her everyday see Debbie as a hero, she herself sees the dispatchers in her division and officers around her and in the field as the real heroes.
“I don’t want to take all that credit,” Debbie says. I love my work; I love all the people I work with. “You got to have the heart to want to want to help people. It’s in everybody here, or you wouldn’t be here.”POV