After 28 years of taking calls as an emergency dispatcher, Kathy Boaz is set to hang up the headset one last time at the end of her shift today as she readies for retirement.
Paris Police Department’s interim-chief Randy Tuttle expressed his gratitude for Kathy, having been with the police department since she began working the phones 28 years ago.
“You can replace the employee, but you can’t replace the person, nor the experience the person has,” Tuttle aid. “Kathy certainly has plenty of experience in our department as a dispatcher, and she’s really going to be missed — not only as a dispatcher but as a person.”
Tuttle said Kathy was a well-liked individual and has won the civilian of the year on several occasions.
“That goes as a testament of her personality and the way she works and how she interacts with her fellow employees and the public,” he said. “Dispatch is a very stressful job because you can go from absolute boredom to sheer terror at the ring of a phone.”
Mike Boaz, Kathy’s husband of 20 years, said she was one of his trainers while he worked dispatch. He said she would always remain calm, no matter the 9-1-1 call.
“You could have a major accident and a tornado at the same time, and she would never change her voice,” he said. “She’s also taught me, that when you’re working the police side and sending someone to a call, she said, ‘you have to do your best with the phone to keep the officer safe upon arrival.”
While working with Kathy in dispatch for about a year and a half, Mike said she taught him how to stay calm and how to treat those calling the emergency line.
“She’s always been dedicated to the citizens,” Mike said. “No matter who called in, what the issue was, she’s always nice to them — it’s their worse day ever. We all have those stressful moments in there, but when they call, you have to remember to stay calm for them.”
Boaz said stress levels rise while in the dispatch room, and Kathy “definitely has a skill set that is very rare, as with many dispatchers.”
“You’re dealing with people’s worse days, every time you pick up the phone,” Mike said. “She’s always remained calm, no matter the issue.
Paris Police Captain Terry Bull said Kathy has been a terrific employee and cares for those she helps.
“Everybody focuses on the law enforcement aspect of it, as for police, fire, EMS,” Bull said. “Dispatchers are the ones sitting there firsthand and, so to speak, can’t get out there and do anything extra.”
Tuttle said he presented Kathy with a plaque thanking her for the 28-year commitment to not only the emergency personnel but also the citizens of Paris.
“We’re really going to miss her because 28 years is a long time,” Tuttle said. “Coming to work, interacting with her and having that friendship with her, I’m going to miss that. But I do wish her very well on her retirement and hope she has a happy and long retirement.”
Bull said Kathy was always one of the ones the department could count on, and enjoyed her job.
“The biggest thing with Kathy is she is always sweet, pleasant and nice to work with,” Bull said. “She’s one of those folks who light up a room once she walks into it.”
“We hate to lose her, but she will be happier. I’m happy for her that she’s able to get out of there in a timely manner and get to enjoy life.”
Mike said he and their family have always been proud of everything Kathy has accomplished.
“Our children, grandchildren and I are so proud of you for all you’ve done for the community the past 28 years,” Mike said. “We are so glad we get more time with you now. Happy retirement and we love you.”
Photo submitted: Left, Mike Boaz and Kathy circa 1995. Right, a recently taken photo of the two.