Carson’s Serenity Simpson is Dispatcher of the Year for second time
Serenity Simpson, a mother of five, doesn’t turn off her motherly instincts when she sits down in front of the five computer screens on her dispatch desk.
Instead, her instincts grow to encompass all the Nevada Highway Patrol troopers and every other agency that she serves at the Department of Public Safety. It’s an instinct that’s helped her nab her second Dispatcher of the Year award, this time for the Northern Command, in about six years on the job.
“I have a very personal connection to making sure they get home all right,” Simpson said, noting that she’s married to an NHP sergeant. “As a dispatcher, you develop an ear for the voices. Even if they don’t ask for help, you can tell they need it.”
She noted one incident in Las Vegas, where she earned her first Dispatcher of the Year award for the Southern Command, where she shouted down a sergeant who interrupted her while she tried to account for a trooper involved in a rollover accident. After she sent out help for him and he was cut out of his car, he called her to apologize. She recalled joking that he needed to get better before she was could get mad enough to warrant apologizing to.
“It’s like a Mom role because we’re ultimately responsible for these guys,” Simpson said.
Because of those instances, she hates sending the emergency responders into unknown situations, even though they have the training and equipment to handle it.
And because of that, September’s IHOP massacre in Carson City was “the most stressful situation I’ve ever been in.”
She said all they knew at that moment was that there was a gunman in the area and that people she knew so well were heading straight toward him.
“In Carson City, the world came to a stop,” she said. “Every resource was at that scene.”
Her co-workers all came in to work without anyone calling them, she said.
“They all deserve (the award),” she said.
The communications center manager, Denise Stewart, said Simpson was being modest, and Stewart praised her worker’s contributions.
“It’s an awesome feeling knowing that I have people that make me look good,” Stewart joked.
It was praise that Stewart, like Simpson, extended to the rest of the team.
“I really do have a great group of people,” Stewart said. “They all really come together when there’s these incidents.”