Stacey Hicks is the living definition of “multi-tasker.”

As a dispatcher for the Claremore Police Department, she has to be.

“It can get pretty stressful at times,” Hicks said, in-between answering calls. “There are times when all our phone lines are ringing at once, and I’ve got one phone in each ear — as a dispatcher, you absolutely have to be able to handle several things at once or you get overwhelmed quickly.”

A native of Claremore, Hicks has been a dispatcher with the police department for four years.

As members of the police department’s communications division, dispatchers like Hicks are responsible for orchestrating all emergency communications for the police, fire and ambulance services in the City of Claremore.

They also are responsible for communications to other departments or agencies as needed, especially in storms or natural disasters.

On a typical day, Hicks said she fields “literally hundreds of calls about everything imaginable” from citizens, police officers, and other law enforcement agents.

“One thing I like about the job is that every day is different — you never know what kind of calls you’re going to get, and you have to be prepared to handle each one,” she said. “We do get a lot of calls about animal problems, which we direct to the animal shelter, and about utility problems — the ones we get about those in particular can be ... particularly volatile.

“Probably the worst of those are when people come home and find their utilities have been turned off — most of the time, because of non-payment — and they’re angry at us because of it,” she said. “People forget that we’re not part of the electric department.

“Now, if there’s a situation where someone is on oxygen or there’s a potential danger to them from the power being out (for example), we’ll get in touch with the fire department or Pafford to help them until power is restored, but we personally have nothing to do with when people’s electricity is cut off or restored,” she said.

As a communications officer, Hicks’ work station is connected to the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (OLET), National Crime Information Center (NCIC), as well as to the Tulsa Police Department, and even to Canada and Interpol.

The dispatcher’s station monitors the security alarms at area businesses and works closely with other agencies — including the sheriff’s department, the police at Rogers State University, the Claremore Fire Department and Pafford Ambulance Service — to respond to any situations.

Although Hicks said is accustomed to handling the duties and stress of her position, some calls are more difficult than others.

“You learn not to let the calls get to you, but some of them — the ones involving children or the suicide calls — are ... harder to get over than others,” she said. “They tend to stay with you longer than the other calls.”

Even so, Hicks said she couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

“Being a dispatcher is definitely a good fit for me,” she said. “I enjoy it and take the responsibility that comes with it very seriously — every call that comes in is important to me.”

Hicks and her husband, Brian live in Broken Arrow. The couple has three children, Ashley, 19, Matthew, 10, and Madison, 4.

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