LaShondra Smith serves Lowndes County through E-911
Published 4:45 pm Friday, November 3, 2023
Since 2005 Lt. LaShondra Smith has worked as a dispatcher for Lowndes County E-911. She was promoted to dispatch supervisor in 2020 and wears her title with great pride.
Smith said she got her start as a dispatcher when she was at a crossroads in her life.
“I started working as a certified nursing assistant but I wanted a change,” Smith said. “I had always admired crime shows and remembered my aunt being a dispatcher and there was an opening so I applied.”
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Lowndes County Sheriff’s Sergeant Prince Williams said as Smith grew in her role, she developed into a dedicated and empathetic leader.
“LaShondra is the epitome of a leader,” Williams said. “Whatever and whenever you need her, she’s there, ready and willing to help in any capacity she is needed. LaShondra is one of the most valuable pieces to our puzzle at the Sheriff’s Office. She is able to keep E-911 moving forward and makes lives easier for the citizens of Lowndes County from behind the scenes. We are so grateful to have her as part of our family.”
Smith said her favorite part of her career is the people she works with and her ability to step in and help them.
“I love working with my employees to establish great teamwork,” Smith said. “My favorite part of my job is being the mediator and being able to connect with callers, obtaining information needed to dispatch and relay it to officers or other first responders.”
According to Smith, one way she shows thanks to her employees for their hard work and dedication is by giving them time off of work, even if it comes at a personal sacrifice to herself.
“Not having enough personnel can be challenging because of scheduling,” Smith said. “When I receive a request for time off I try my best to honor them, even if I have to work it myself, because I feel that they deserve it and hopefully it lets them know that as their supervisor that I value and care about them.”
Smith stressed that the public can sometimes misunderstand the role of 911 dispatchers and be under the impression that those individuals simply sit around waiting for calls, but said that simply isn’t the case.
“We are multifunctional people who do a lot of things at one time, and we do it well and with smiles on our faces,” Smith said. “Dispatching is a very serious job because we are the first point of contact. If we don’t gather enough information to dispatch the call, we fail not only the caller seeking help but we fail the officers as well. The community relies on us to get it right. Sometimes we don’t get do-overs and we can be the difference between life and death for some.”