At the suggestion of a relative, Dee Hazle walked into the sheriffs office in Cooke County Texas and began her career in law enforcement. This past week she walked into the sheriffs office in Jefferson County Oklahoma celebrating a 25 year career as a dispatcher.
For Dee it’s all about family.
Dee has two grown children, Deric and Kimberlee, and four grandchildren. Both have had long fruitful careers in the Navy. They both entered just after their high school graduations. Kimberlee is about to finish and she and her husband will retire to Abilene, Texas. Deric works at Dialysis Associates in Fort Worth as a radiology tech and general manager.
Life for Dee began in New Orleans, Louisiana. Shortly after birth. Her parents moved to Midland Texas where she lived until the end of her high school days.
Fast forward to October 4, 1994. That was the day that would forever change her life in ways she could never imagine. That was her first day as a dispatcher at the Cooke County sheriff’s office.
Becoming a communications officer, dispatcher, had never crossed Dee’s mind. However, her brother-in-law’s sister, Jimmie Kay, saw something in her leading her to believe she could not only do it, but be successful at it. She was right.
Initially, Dee was afraid to talk on the microphone. Now she’s a natural.
After a few years, Dee took a job with the Gainesville Police Department.
Eventually she moved to Waurika to take care of her grandmother, Zena George. Zena had worked for Willis Worley at the funeral home for many years.
Dee was looking out for her family.
She became a part of the Jefferson County family of law enforcement on January 1, 2001. At that time dispatch was housed at the INS facility across the street from the courthouse which had previously been the Gerken Richardson Auto Dealership.
Back then Stan Barnes was the sheriff.
Since then many officers and employees have come and gone.
Technology has changed as well.
Dee has to admit she doesn’t always like change. She still has a fondness for the old handwritten radio logs. Today all calls and incidents are entered into a computer.
Another change is how 911 calls are received. When Dee began they came in on a regular phone line. Today they come in on a computer that often gives GPS coordinates for where the call is coming from.
New technology has its advantages, but learning new technology can slow down efficiency. Imagine learning new methods while answering three phone lines, dealing with a crime in one town, a fire in another town, and an emergency in yet another all at the same time.
Over the years she has dealt with tragedy and triumphs. Thankfully, early on she was taught that you can’t bring the job home with you. Sometimes it is hard to do.
She loves her work. It’s a good day for her when everyone goes home safe.
Sometimes she is surprised she is working as a dispatcher. However, she doesn’t think of herself as just a dispatcher. She likes to think that she is out there on the scene with the officers and emergency personnel, anticipating their every need.
Dee’s had offers to work in other professions. Some more lucrative. However, she knows she would miss her family. After all, That’s what it’s all about for her. Family.