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Working behind the scenes with Truro police

Truro Police Chief Dave MacNeil is happy to have people like Candace Chornoby, left, and Erin Adams behind him. The women have been dispatchers with the service for several years.
Truro Police Chief Dave MacNeil is happy to have people like Candace Chornoby, left, and Erin Adams behind him. The women have been dispatchers with the service for several years. - Lynn Curwin
TRURO, N.S. —

Erin Adams works behind the scenes much of the time, but she plays a vital role with Truro Police Service. 
She’s the dispatch manager and has been handling emergency calls for 15 years.
“I’ve always been interested in law enforcement and helping, and I happened upon this and fell in love with it,” said Adams, who grew up in Middle Musquodoboit. “We handle police and fire, and after-hours calls for public works.
“You learn over the years how to handle things and direct some calls to the appropriate places to free up police.”
Some calls are unusual – like the one she received from a person telling her there was a cat out of control.
Adams said working with a force the size of Truro’s, the eight dispatchers get to know all the officers and have comfortable working relationships with them.
Candace Chornoby has been working with Truro dispatch for seven years.
“This is the only type of job I know,” she said. “I’m from Manitoba and I dispatched out west for 911 before moving here.
“One of the things I like about the work is that every day is different, but I sometimes find it hard to get some of the stressful things out of my head when I get home.”
Truro Police Chief Dave MacNeil recognizes the value of dispatchers.
“No matter what we do, if they don’t get things right we’re behind the eight-ball,” he said. “When we get information from them we know how many officers to send and how quickly they’re needed.
“They’re dealing with people at their worst and are doing shift work.”
He considers the force lucky to have dispatchers who have been with them for several years. Because they’re familiar with the community, they’ve helped solve crimes by recognizing a voice or an image.
“The public recognizes the people they see out front and they sometimes forget about the people behind the scenes,” MacNeil said. “We work with them through the call; they’re very much a part of our team.”
He feels that National Public Safety Telecommunications Week, which runs April 14-20, is the ideal time to acknowledge their importance.
“It can be hectic and stressful, and the hardest part is leaving everything behind at the end of the day, but we have a great team environment and it’s a job where you feel you’re helping,” said Adams.

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