Lubbock 911 Operator Recognized Nationally - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/13/03

Lubbock 911 Operator Recognized Nationally

It's often hard to stay calm when there's an emergency, but when the only link for help is a cellular phone, you have to. 911 dispatch doesn't always know the location of callers using cell phones, so people have to be patient and stay calm to get the fastest assistance.

A 911 operator in Lubbock is one of only 10 across the state being recognized for her ability to stay calm in the storm. Belinda Escobedo has been a 911 operator for more than four years. A job she describes as at times stressful and emotional.

"It varies, you never know what to expect. It can be a day that is very uneventful, and some days you can have the unimaginable happen," Belinda Escobedo said.

Last September, Belinda took a call from a rape victim that was disoriented and scared.

"I think I got raped right now," the victim said.

Belinda recalls the woman was frantic and had been drinking.

"We're in a van somewhere. I don't know where in Lubbock," the victim said.

"Okay, you need to try to find a landmark that you can give me," Escobedo said to the caller.

The caller later escaped from the suspects and walked a few blocks trying to figure out where she was.

"Ma'am, I need you to listen to me. I understand what's going on. I need you to look around where you are. Are you around houses or business?" Escobedo said.

"Houses. Pease help me, please help me. Get over here," the victim said.

Minutes later, police found the victim and got her to the hospital. Now, Belinda is being recognized as one of the best dispatchers in the state for how she handled that call.

"Relieved that they found her. It's frustrating when you are trying to help somebody and the more willing they are to help you, then it's a good feeling when you are able to figure out where they are," Escobedo said.

Belinda and another 911 dispatcher from this area, Benjamin Maldonado, are two of only 10 people selected. They will be recognized as "Telecommunicators of the Year" at a ceremony next month.

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