Palo Pinto County Sheriff Ira Mercer presented a commendation Friday, June 10th to a dispatcher he said was instrumental in saving a young woman's life.
"You did good," he said to Marsha Davis (sister to Rose Jackson of Richland Springs) while presenting her with a plaque commemorating her service. "I appreciate you."
Davis took a 911 call June 1 from a 19-year-old woman pleading with a male not to shoot her and stayed on the line until the phone's service provider was able to pinpoint her location.
The victim apparently called police and left her phone open in her purse, allowing Davis to hear her conversation with the alleged kidnapper, Andrew Coffman, who was later shot and killed by a Mineral Wells police officer.
Mercer said the victim displayed quick thinking in making the call and credits Davis' professionalism and resourcefulness with the young woman's survival.
"I feel like she probably saved her life," he said, "That's what this is all about."
Davis said she was just doing her job, but said calls like this one carry an extra sense of urgency.
"I was thinking, 'We need to hurry up'" she said.
According to Davis, who said she has more than 20 years experience as a dispatcher, technological advances have made her work more effective.
Mercer said he agrees, adding cooperation between Davis and AT&T, the victim's service provider, was essential in the positive outcome of the case.
Mineral Wells Police Chief Mike McAllester said Davis, along with city police dispatcher Christina Martinez, displayed a proficiency in their job that made possible the work of officers in the case.
"We think a 19-year-old girl is alive today thanks to her efforts," he said.
Both he and Mercer said a dispatcher's job is one that takes a specific set of skills to perform well.
"I couldn't do that job," Mercer said, "I wouldn't want that job. You have to be a multi-multi-tasker."
McAllester expressed the importance of AT&T staff's openness in providing GPS information during the call, adding both Davis and Martinez were on the phone with different employees of the service provider.
"One was finding info, the other finding a location," McAllester said.
He encouraged people to contact their mobile phone service provider to determine what their policy is concerning the release of such information.
"Not only did [dispatchers] do an excellent job," McAllester added, "we thank AT&T as well."
In general, officials say people don't realize the importance of dispatchers until situations such as this arise.
"They're those people's lifelines, Mercer said of dispatchers, a job he said Davis "did in an exceptional manner as far as I'm concerned."