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Young Professional Spotlight: Shelby Creed, Linn County E-911 Central Dispatch

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  • Young Professional Spotlight: Shelby Creed, Linn County E-911 Central Dispatch

    At 29 years old, Shelby Creed is one of the youngest directors in the state of Missouri. Shelby serves as the Director of Linn County E-911 Central Dispatch, the Linn County Emergency Management Director, the Missouri APCO Northeast Regional Ambassador, the Missouri 911 Director’s Association Region 4 Representative and she is an instructor for the Missouri Professional Training Partnership for the CTO program and PST-1. Shelby Creed began her career in dispatch in 2017 when she found an opening for an Assistant Director position. Within six months of her hire, she accepted the position of Director. Even with these vast accomplishments already under her belt, she has no intentions of slowing down anytime soon. She also plans to add ENP, RPL and CPE to her list of certifications within the next five years.

    Shelby was destined to a career in public safety from the start, she explains “I guess you could say it’s in my blood”. Shelby’s father was a firefighter who became Fire Chief for the City of Moberly before his retirement in 2016. Her father also served as the Randolph County Emergency Management Director and a part time EMT. At birth, Shelby’s first stop upon leaving the hospital was stopping at her father’s fire station. The fire station “always felt like a second home” to Shelby and she viewed them as a “huge family”. While she never thought she would be able to dispatch, she quickly fell in love with the job. “Public safety is something I have always known”, says Shelby. She is passionate about public safety and hopes to continue gaining experience and knowledge so she can run “one of the best 9-1-1 centers around”.

    On a typical day at Linn County E-911 Central Dispatch, Shelby can be found fulfilling administrative duties, training, assigning 9-1-1 addresses and leading/assisting her dispatchers. As with many centers nationwide, her center has been experiencing staffing shortages. This means that she also consistently works the console in addition to her other important duties. Her county has seen a great deal of change in the past three years. They went from having a police department dispatch that answered 9-1-1 calls and transferred medical calls to an ambulance base—all without a CAD system—to a state-of-the-art consolidated dispatch center. They now have multiple advanced technological services such as a top-of-the-line CAD system, EMD software and 9-1-1 mapping software to allow them to better serve their community. Shelby continues to look towards the future where she sees further advancements in NG9-1-1 services such as video capabilities. Shelby prides herself on having a “proactive mind versus reactive,” she feels this makes it easier for her to look at things with an open mind and makes her more adaptable to the ever-changing environment of public safety.

    Shelby, like many of us, has to face staffing shortages on a daily basis. When asked her thoughts on why she believes people are leaving this industry, she says the most common reason is burnout. She said there can be many reasons for burnout to occur which can include lack of training at an agency, lack of leadership or sometimes the job doesn’t end up being what they thought it would be. “They take the job thinking it will be like it is on TV shows and they soon realize that is not a real representation of how a true dispatch center is”, says Shelby. As burnout occurs, people start to dread going to work and eventually resent it entirely. Shelby explains another reason for burnout is that “we are rarely ever thanked and rarely ever receive appreciation from those in the community”. This constant feeling of being unappreciated can take its toll on individuals and lead to them leaving the profession.

    Shelby is dedicated to helping combat these issues in her center, especially for young professionals. Her center has a morale committee and multiple supervisor positions available so that employees have a way to move up. She also makes sure employees are familiar with training opportunities and are allowed the option of going to conferences. Shelby says that there are other ways to attract and retain young professionals. She points out that “paid vacation time, recruitment incentives, every other weekend off, [and] shorter work weeks” are incentives that can be offered. Equally important, “making them feel appreciated so that they stay” is a vital step. She also notes the importance of offering Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) and mental health services so that employees have somewhere to reach out when they need to talk.

    To new public safety telecommunicators just beginning their careers, Shelby shares many words of wisdom. She urges them to soak in all the knowledge that they can from those who have been in this field for a long time and to never be afraid to ask questions. She empowers them to learn the difference between “constructive and destructive criticism” and being able to accept it from all levels. Shelby wants new telecommunicators to “remember that you are not talking to people on their best day and emergencies bring out the worst in people”. As such, it is crucial to know what “type of self-care helps you the most to destress”. Shelby feels that young professionals are an asset to public safety due to their innate understanding of current technology. She also praises young professionals for their ability to think outside of the box. Young professionals don’t subscribe to doing things a certain way just because “it’s always been done this way”, but rather are constantly looking for new ideas.

    Shelby expresses the importance of going after your goals and not letting people hold you back. “Do not let anyone tell you that you can’t do this job or that you don’t have enough experience or knowledge”, says Shelby. Shelby urges young professionals to take on positions that they may not be comfortable with because stepping outside of one’s comfort zone is how to blossom and grow. Shelby further explains that “you can learn so much during those uncomfortable times and it will give you the drive you need to succeed.”

    “I think what I find most enjoyable about my job is watching other people fall in love with a career that I am very passionate about. I am passionate about helping our citizens in their time of need, making sure our responders all make it home safely to their families and taking the best care of my dispatchers that I can.” It is clear that Shelby is an outstanding representation of a young professional and will continue to be a beacon of hope for her center and public safety as a whole.

    Join us in celebrating Shelby, and her many accomplishments, as our Young Professional Spotlight. If you know of a Young Professional that deserves recognition, nominate them using this form.