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Story from Caitlin Owens, CTO, Oconee County Sheriff's Office, SC

"When I started this profession, I had no idea what I was getting into. I had just turned 21, had 2 small kids, and agreed to 12-hour nightshifts with no guaranteed day spot in the near future (I know, I'm insane!) I knew nothing about law enforcement or the work of first responders but I dove head first, learned all I could, and taught myself what others couldn't teach me. A few years later and I am now able to train the newbies that come through our doors and I wouldn't trade my life for the world (I made it to the dayshift light too.)

I gained a career the day I started but what I also gained was a passion and a family. If all I did in a day was keep all my people safe, it is a job well done. And all the crazy folks that are blessed enough to deal with me on a daily basis get to be my family, who I love just as much as the ones I go home to after a long day. There are no words to describe what it's like to love your job this much, it is a part of who I am now and I hope to never lose it.

That being said, (because it is never all sunshine) some days are hard. Some days your people get hurt or are in danger. Some days you take a call home with you and have to work it out alone. Some days you want nothing more than that one minute of silence, that day off, that 5 minute break. But you work through it because we are few and far between, and we can cry after if we need to. I laugh way more than I cry in here anyways!! There are calls that will be with me forever, sounds I will never un-hear, things I will never forget. But all of those things make me a better dispatcher, a stronger mother, a kinder friend.

I pride myself in being the calm voice in the storm. It took a lot for me to get here, and I can't imagine ever going back. I read somewhere that we are the eye of the hurricane- when everything else is chaos, we have to be calm, cool and collected- and MAN is that true. And I would choose this chaos over everything, every time!"


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