JOHNSON COUNTY — Over the last four years, one 911 center's director's idea has grown to help other dispatchers across the state.
911 dispatchers are among the first to know a crisis is unfolding — like the Greenwood Park Mall mass shooting.
That tragedy, like many others, binds the trained telecommunicators who take the critical calls responding to emergencies.
"We have a tight knit group here in Indiana when it comes to 911 centers," Heath Brant, Johnson County 911 Executive Director, said.
In 2018, the death of three kids at a school bus stop led to 911 dispatchers in Fulton County receiving packages and letters from around the country.
Gail Karas, the 911 center director in Fulton County, created one caring tote. There are now four containers that are filled with snacks. The containers travel across the state to show dispatchers they are not alone.
In the past 18 moths, the tote has made 13 stops in 11 separate counties.
The most recent stop was in Madison County where dispatchers handled the calls following the death of Elwood Police Officer Noah Shahnavaz.
"There's a tragic incident that happens and they know how stressful it is on the dispatchers," Brant said. "This is just one way we can support each other."
Johnson County, which had the tote before Madison County, refilled it and made sure the tradition made it to its next destination.
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