Lifestyle

Texas 911 Operator to Retire After Answering Calls for 30 Years

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Answering 911 calls can be a thankless job, but Debbie Panduru worked tirelessly as an emergency operator for the Plano police for 30 years. She told WFAA that there were three times during training where she thought seriously about quitting the grueling job, but she knew the community needed her.

911.org says that dispatchers must “make quick decisions; coordinate multiple tasks at one time; have reasoning skills and the ability to maintain control of a situation.” At any moment, a person’s life might depend on the operator answering their emergency call, and Panduru knew how to keep a level head. Officers knew her as a confident “no-nonsense and a by-the-book dispatcher.”

Panduru worked the night shift for the last time, and once she signed off, she could no longer hold back her emotion. She walked outside to see a crowd of officers applauding and ready to hug her while the lights from the police cars lit up the dark sky.

After 30 years of intense work, Panduru says she’s still a night owl and feels a bit “wired” from needing to be on her toes, but she plans on taking up crocheting again and traveling to Mexico to celebrate her retirement.