Augusta dispatcher plays vital role in emergency situation

AUGUSTA, Kansas – Butler County authorities are investigating a murder-suicide in Augusta.

Two people, identified as 45-year-old Gary Weaver and his 31-year-old wife Erin. were found dead in a home Thursday evening around 9:40 p.m.

A dispatcher with the Augusta Department of Public Safety received a call from  a 12-year-old boy to report shots fired in the house.

The dispatcher, Officer Marcus Windholtz is being commended for his effort to keep the boy calm during the situation and get police to the scene in a timely manner.

The Augusta Department of Public Safety deploys a dispatcher around the clock.

These dispatchers usually hold down 12 hour shifts to adhere to the communities needs.

Lance Hilton, the Communications Director for the department says dispatchers go through extensive training to be ready and prepared for anything.

“We do about 6 to 8 weeks, you learn how to control the call, you learn about the different kind of calls you may receive,” said Hilton.

Hilton says they try to come up with any scenario possible to put dispatchers through.

He says when things get worse, dispatchers have to expand on the knowledge they’ve already been given.

“You get your basic training and as you do this more you’re able to build off what you learn and apply it to the next incident,” said Hilton.

Hilton says there are also things the public should be aware of when and if they do decide to dial 9-1-1.

“If you call 9-1-1, just remain calm, listen to the dispatcher, they’re going to have specific questions, they’re going to have you do certain things,” said Hilton.

Last year, the Augusta Department of Public Safety fielded 4,143 9-1-1 calls.

Officer Marcus Windholtz has received praise from the Augusta Police Department on the way he handled the situation Thursday night.

Police Chief Tyler Brewer was quoted as saying.

“I listened to a portion of the tape, and I couldn’t be prouder of that young man. Because of his forethought, the questions that he asked, he kept the boy calm talked him in to climbing out the window, got officers positioned properly to retrieve the young man and get home to safety.”

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