Police dispatchers train for the worst but rarely face it.
That all changed for Marcus Windholz on Feb. 6. At about 9 p.m. he took a 9-1-1 call from a 12-year-old boy who said he was locked in his bedroom and he could hear his mother and step-father arguing.
Then he told Windholz he had heard a series of gunshots.
“I was very nervous with what information I had been given and not knowing where the suspect was, not only for the kid but my emergency responders going that way since we’re a big family,” Windholz said. “We talk about calls like this with our fellow dispatchers and other agency dispatchers to help prepare us which I think helped me stay calm.”
Brewer said Windholz rapidly dispatched emergency personnel to the scene while keeping contact with the young man on the phone.
“Specialist Windholz immediately sent the call to the patrol units and made staff notifications, all while keeping the young man on the telephone and in a very calm voice began obtaining needed information for the responding officers,” Safety Department Chief Tyler Brewer told the governing body Tuesday night. “He was able to coordinate between the young man and the on-scene officers, the young man’s safe escape from his bedroom window and into a secure environment.”
Brewer said the after he reviewed the 9-1-1 recording and other information, he recommended Windholz receive the Distinguished Service Award issued to a member of the department who displays outstanding services by achieving success in a difficult situation.
Mayor Kristey Williams said she was proud of the Augusta Department of Safety.
“I am proud of the work Marcus Windholz did in this situation and offer a special thanks to Chief Brewer for being on the scene as well,” Williams said.
Windholz said he felt awkward receiving the award in front of the governing body.
“Honestly it felt weird to be honored because I’m use to only dealing with people over the phone and radio,” he said.
Kent Bush can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.