HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. (WSPA) – When you dial 911 in an emergency in Hendersonville, you’ll be talking to a first responder.
Amber Kleppe is the Hendersonville Police Department’s Communications Supervisor. Part of her job, or any of the dispatchers she manages, is to be a calm voice on the other end of the line during life’s most frantic moments.
“You have to figure out how to calm them down as well as not feed off their emotions,” Kleppe said. “Sometimes you’ll have a very more hysterical caller over a dog in a car then you would think about someone who has been shot.”
The training that goes into becoming a 911 dispatcher is extensive.
Kleppe said it’s a minimum of 504 hours and it’s done mostly in-house. When you add in additional standards to reach, the amount of training required is closer to 600 hours.
Staying calm is part of the profession.
“We teach them how to handle each call,” according to Kleppe. “If you have someone who is not listening, they’re just screaming you have to talk to them in a calm voice and use repetition because it’s going to get their attention because you can’t just yell back at them.”
Kleppe grew up in Hendersonville and attended North Henderson High School. The 2007 graduate pursued a criminal justice degree and graduated after taking a job with the Hendersonville Police Department in 2011.
She takes calls during extreme emergencies while others that are of a far different feather.
“There was an actual crow attacking a car,” she tells us about a call from several years ago.
“What the crow was doing was attacking the weather stripping around the windshield. And there were dents in the car from the crow. I don’t know what the problem was, but we obviously didn’t really know what to tell (them) to do.”
“When the officer cleared, he said, ‘central, there’s a crow attacking her car.'”