FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) – Public safety dispatchers serve as an unseen, but vital link in keeping law enforcement officers and the public safe at all times of the day and night.
On the night of May 5, 2013 Miria Thomas, a Kentucky State Police Dispatcher in Madisonville received a text message at home from a fellow dispatcher saying they had a subject barricade himself in an abandoned apartment and was feeling homicidal and suicidal.
Troopers responding to the call said that he wanted to talk with Thomas or he was "going to start killing someone."
Thomas found out that even though she never met the subject face to face he was no stranger.
"My heart almost stopped beating," she said.
Thomas immediately volunteered to talk with the subject by phone.
"I first remember having contact with the subject when I worked the midnight shift from 1998 to 2008," Thomas recalled. "He would often call to make a complaint on being threatened or assaulted. I would send him the help he needed and he would always call back and thank me for helping him."
"As time went on, he began to call to just thank me for listening to him and helping him," she said. "These short conversations were often just to let me know if he was having a good day or week or a hard time. I would try to encourage him and let him know he was not alone during his struggles in life and advise him where he could seek the appropriate help he might need, help that KSP could not give him."
When the phone rang and the dispatcher on duty patched Thomas through the subject began crying and yelling her name out over and over.
"He said he was so glad to talk to me and he knew everything was going to be alright now," said Thomas.
She then heard one of the troopers on the scene say, "Dispatcher Thomas wants me to place you in protective custody now."
Shortly after, Thomas called Post 2 and was told that after talking to her, the subject had surrendered his weapons, exited the apartment and was taken into custody without further incident.
Both the subject and all the troopers involved were fine.
"They told me it was a good thing that I was able to talk the subject out because troopers on the scene had reported they were getting nowhere talking to him and his actions and mental state would most likely have caused them to use extreme force with possibly fatal results," she notes.
Thomas has still never met the subject she helped that night.
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