It’s been 20 years, and I am still mad that Officer Scott Flahive had to die. I am mad that we have bad people of all races, classes, and mental states who want to hurt or kill our officers.
I was a dispatcher that night and it affected my life forever. I have been in the public safety field from dispatcher to director of a 911 center. I see all sides. I still recoil when I hear of a senseless death of any officer. I tremble especially for the dispatchers who sit through the incident, in a room, helpless, and in the dark.
I remember Scott’s funeral vividly. I also remember his youthful face, his rookie voice, and his anxious passion for the job. Road patrol Lt. Beld did a fantastic job going nearly three days without sleep to pull off an incredibly honorable dedication to a young officer who died needlessly doing a job he loved.
What I still remember 20 years later is one officer after another crying and hugging each other. I remember all the colors of a sea of uniforms and patrol cars at the funeral. I remember working in dispatch to catch the second bad guy who was outstanding for a short time after the shooting. I remember the corrections officers who were injured not only on the breakout, but on the previous attempt when the bad guys practiced their getaway. All corrections officers, especially Cathy Shaw should be remembered as they did their very best to try to stop this horrible event from unfolding.
The night Scott died influenced my life. I remember the bond between dispatch, the road, corrections, and the community. I stand strong on that public safety tie that binds everyone together. I believe in it. I wish people should stop and see one another as people, not a color, not a uniform, not us vs. them. In the meantime, I am glad I had the honor to meet Scott, dispatch him, and protect him on so many nights.
To all who wear the uniforms and selflessly give, be safe. To all the dispatchers who hear the cries for help, (we hear you) and thank you for keeping them all safe.
~ Kelly R. Rasmussen, PhD
Kelly R. Rasmussen, PhD
Kelly has been with the 911 industry since 1986. She rose through the ranks from Dispatcher to Director to Dr. (PhD- Public Safety Leadership).
In 2006, Kelly co-founded Success Communications training company and has trained all over the U.S. and Canada. Success has been highlighted on CNN, MSNBC, Fox news, and other news channels.
She is the author of, CALL911! True Stories from My Life in Emergency Dispatch, published by Select Books of New York.
She is a co-creator of the only Motivational Conference all about dispatchers called 9114911 (.com)
Kelly is a motivational speaker who ignites audiences by relating to them with stories from her book as well as her life in the 911 industry.