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BOONE, NC — Melissa Harmon has been a dispatcher in Watauga County for nearly three decades.

“The 24th of this month will mark 28 years,” Harmon said.


What do you want to know

  • Boone and Watauga County consolidated their 911 centers
  • This makes it easier for dispatchers to send teams to you faster
  • Calls were going to wrong dispatcher due to cell phone GPS, but now dispatchers Boone and Watauga are working together

She went to criminal justice school and wanted to be an MP. This desire brought her to the 911 call center.

“I love it. I can help people, but I’m not cold. I don’t get wet. I get yelled at,” Harmon said.

She says that with time it gets easier.

“Every time 911 rang, my adrenaline was rushing and I could feel it. Then I got to a stage where it wouldn’t go off unless I picked up the phone and heard someone scream immediately,” said Harmon.

It was difficult, she said, when calls were going to the wrong 911 center because of the cellphone’s GPS and had to be transferred. Now Boone’s dispatchers have moved into the Watauga County 911 center and they’re working together.

“By bringing everyone here, no matter where the call is. We can manage it, process it and route it to the right people as needed,” said Emergency Services Manager Will Holt.

Holt says this helps them reach you as quickly as possible.

“Even though we’re scattered, it’s a team and a fight here. Anything we can do to help our citizens and our public safety partners meet the needs, that’s what we’re going to do,” he said. Holt said.