Dispatcher made career choice on how she could best help others

Cindy Howard, of Meeker, is an emergency communications supervisor for the city of Norman. She recently was named 2014 Dispatcher of the Year by the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments.
by Bryan Painter Modified: June 29, 2014 at 12:39 am •  Published: June 29, 2014
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— Cindy Howard based her career choice on how she could best help others.

She considered becoming a nurse or something in the medical field. She just wanted to help.

Then, in 1989, Howard began working for the Prague Police Department. The police chief asked her if she’d ever considered being a dispatcher.

“After thinking about it, I decided I could help people doing this, if I could handle the different types of calls I would have to take and handle the multitasking I would have to do,” Howard said.

Today, Howard, 47, of Meeker, is an emergency communications supervisor for the city of Norman. She recently was named 2014 Dispatcher of the Year by the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments.

Her duties in Norman include answering 911 calls and dispatching the appropriate emergency services. She is a training officer and instructor who develops new recruits. She also is a Criminal Justice Information Services compliance officer and an emergency medical dispatch quality assurance officer.

Everything goes back to her original desire, what she wanted most in a job.

“I truly like helping people and this is definitely a good way to do it,” Howard said.

When a panicking father calls to say his wife is about to give birth but the ambulance hasn’t had time to get there, her training kicks in.

“You provide the pre-arrival instructions you are trained to give,” she said, “and at the end, the baby is crying, Mom and Dad are crying, and then the responders arrive to assist with transporting everyone.

“It is truly a blessing for me to be able to do this job and to have been able to do it for the past 25 years.”

As with any occupation, there are challenges.

Howard said one of the biggest is not being able to spend holidays, birthdays and school events with her family.

Others stem from the nature of the work.


by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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