Teena Scott has answered the call for Mustang residents in need of help for over 20 years.
The Mustang Police Emergency Communications Supervisor retired last week after 24 years of service. The City held a retirement reception in her honor on Friday.
Scott made the long drive from her home on Fort Cobb Lake to Mustang for work and has done so the last 12 years.
"I moved to Mustang in 1988 after living in Oklahoma City as an apartment manager for 15 years," Scott said. "I wanted to get out of that and be closer to my mother and father-in-law, who were like my parents."
After moving to Mustang, Scott said there was an opening for a dispatcher at the police department.
"I was ready to get out of the apartment business and they had an opening and I applied," she said.
She was hired by the department on March 8, 1989.
Scott said a police dispatcher covered a wide variety of duties.
"Back then we did it all," she said. "We did the records as well for the department."
In February of 1990, Scott was recognized for her work for dispatching multiple grass fires on the same day.
"I dispatched 17 of them at one time, I won’t ever forget that," she said.
During her time at the department, Scott also worked as an administrative secretary and as the Deputy Court Clerk. She was promoted to Communications Supervisor in February of 2001. In November of 2001, she helped the department acquire a free technology upgrade for 911 equipment and also helped the department move into their current building in 2002.
"We went from being in a very little place to a big place," she said.
Scott said she has seen many changes during her 24 years with the department. She has worked under five police chiefs and five city managers.
"We used to type all of the officers’ reports and we don’t have to do that anymore. We have computers now and when I started we didn’t have them," she said. "When I started, police and fire were all in the same building. The fire department was upstairs and now we have our own building."
Scott said she recalled when she would have to press a big red button at the old building to alert the fire department that they had a call.
Mustang Police Chief Chuck Foley thanked Scott for all her years of service at a retirement reception on Friday.
"Teena has devoted her professional life, 24 years of service to the City of Mustang and the citizens of Mustang," Foley said. "We really appreciate it."
Foley said he was impressed with the amount of knowledge and experience Scott had from all the training she had received over the years.
"She has more training than I do," he said. "Also, a lot of people don’t realize that our dispatchers are also jailers, so she has gone through all the jailer certification along with CPR and first aid training. The dispatchers are the ears and mouths of the police officers in the field. Sometimes they are also the eyes for them as well. It is a tremendously important job and I certainly recognize their important role in the police department. All I can do is wish Teena a wonderful and wealthy retirement."
Foley presented a plaque of appreciation to Scott on behalf of the city.
Scott said she considers everyone at the department family.
"We are very close," she said. "The officers are like brothers to me and everyone takes care of each other."
Scott made the decision to retire so she could spend more time with family.
"Part of it had to do with the stress," she said. "As dispatchers, we walk in and we cannot leave. You don’t get breaks, you eat and work. When there’s holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas and you’re scheduled to work, you’re here. Either your family waits for you or you miss out on it."
As a dispatcher, Scott has answered thousands of calls from people in need of help. She dispatched calls for not only the police, but for fire, rescue and ambulances.
"We are really the first responders," she said. "Without us, they are not getting a police officer. We answer calls from people who are scared, frustrated and mad on a daily basis."
For Scott, the job came naturally.
"I just tried to help people," she said. "That’s why they are calling, is because they need help. That’s what my job was, to try to calm them down and let them know that help was on the way."