It is my honor to announce 30 year veteran dispatcher Don Kirk received the APCO Telecommunicator of the Year award during a KESC banquet of statewide communication peers last night. Law enforcement agencies (dispatch agencies do not nominate their employees) throughout the state are given the opportunity each year to nominate a dispatcher that fits the award criteria. Sheriff Norman Chaffins composed the heartfelt letter of recommendation. The committee then chooses the best candidate for that award. My sincerest congratulations Dispatcher Don Kirk!
A big thank you to Sheriff Norman Chaffins for his nomination letter which reads as follows:
I am writing this memo because I would like to nominate Dispatcher Don Kirk for APCO Telecommunicator of the Year. Dispatcher Kirk has been a dispatcher since 1987. He has been in Grayson County his entire career. I started with the Kentucky State Police in 1995 and was assigned to Grayson County as a road Trooper. Don has a great attitude towards the units her serves. He always goes above and beyond in seeing that his officers and first responders have the information they need and are kept safe.
When I was a young Trooper, I was involved in several pursuits. One particular night I was patrolling in the far western end of Grayson County and had limited or no signal with (KSP) Post 4 Dispatchers when a pursuit ensued. I switched to my county radio and gave then the information on the car I was pursuing. Within seconds I received the information on the vehicle, as well as who may be driving the car.
Information was relayed to the county units and within minutes I had additional police vehicles behind me.
Eventually the pursuit came to an end. The suspect was arrested and no police cruisers or units were damaged or injured. I then began making requests to the dispatcher, which had already taken care of during the pursuit – Post 4 personnel had been notified, my supervisors were on their way and a wrecker had already been sent.
During the pursuit, the dispatcher on the other end was very focused and smooth. There was no panic in his voice and the information he was giving me was very clear and precise.
That was my first experience with that particular dispatcher. I learned his name was Dispatcher Kirk.
During the pursuit, Dispatcher Kirk did nothing really spectacular, other than simply do his job and do it well. I knew nothing about Dispatcher Kirk, but I simply wanted to thank him for a job well done. So that night after the scene had been cleared; I went to the dispatch office to meet him.
When I entered the dispatch office I was this man typing on what looked like a manual typewriter. I was unaware that they still made manual typewriters! The man asked if he could help me and I quickly realized that he was blind and the “typewriter” he was using was actually an instrument he needed to read and type in Braille.
I told him I needed to see Don Kirk. He replied that he was Don Kirk. I then said, “No, the Don Kirk that helped me on the pursuit.” He said, “That’s me.”
Embarrassingly, I must admit that I was surprised to see that he was blind. It was simply amazing to me that he was able to handle all that went on without even being able to see a computer screen or see the data coming back to him.
I wanted to ask him a hundred questions about how he did this and how he did that, and over the years I believe I have.
One of my favorite sayings is “Adapt and Overcome.” Don Kirk is certainly one that has had to adapt and overcome his entire life. His is living proof that with the right attitude and willingness to work hard, anyone with a different ability can overcome obstacles and be successful in life.
Don is a great asset, not just to the agency her serves, but to the units he takes care of and the people in his community.
I am currently retired from the KSP and am now Sheriff of Grayson County. I proudly nominate Dispatcher
Don Kirk as APCO Dispatcher of the Year because Don serves his profession with passion, professionalism and a unique ability to “adapt and overcome.”