Dispatcher of the year: Emma Olvera

SAN BENITO — In times of crisis, before the first responders arrive, there is a calm voice.

Dispatchers are rarely seen, but Harlingen native Emma Olvera is getting the recognition she deserves.

Last month, Olvera was awarded with Dispatcher of the Year for her service working with the San Benito Police Department.

It wasn’t the job she was looking for, but it was the job she excelled at.

Q: Why did you become a dispatcher?

A: Well, honestly I was just looking for a job. I didn’t think I was going to get the position but I did.

Q: How long have you been there?

A: I have been there a year and three months.

Q: Was this job what you expected?

A: It’s totally different than what people think. A lot of people want to compare it to “The Call” with Halle Berry. Some of the time it can be the same, but a lot of the times it isn’t and you can’t get personal with the caller.

Q: What are some difficulties you face on the job?

A: Helping the caller keep calm in their time of distress. Dispatching is not for everyone. It takes a type of heart to do it.

Sometimes listening to the person in distress can overwhelm you and you can just shut down yourself.

Q: How do you deal with all those stressful times?

A: Talking to your coworkers about it. Talking to your supervisors or having someone to talk about it with. It depends on the situation but talking about it helps.

The San Benito Police Department is like a big family and we all look out for each other.

Q: What is something you have learned as a dispatcher?

A: How to multi-task. You can be talking to the officer on the radio and having the fire department and a person on another call and not getting confused while giving people the information they need.

Q: What does this award mean to you?

A: I didn’t think I would get rewarded for my work. It means that I am doing my job right. It means a lot. I feel like I do my good deed of the day and I enjoy that.