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Telecommunicator of the Year awarded to Midlothian officer

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Staff Reports
MIDLOTHIAN - The internationally renowned Association of Police Communications Officials recently selected Midlothian Police communications officer Christine Thompson as 'Telecommunicator of the Year' for the State of Texas.

The honor will be officially conferred at the annual APCO luncheon on April 17 in Waco.

'It is a surreal feeling and great honor to receive this award,' said Thompson.

Thompson, who holds her advanced telecommunications certificate, certification as an instructor and has earned an associate's degree, joined the Midlothian Police Department in January 2005 and brought with her several years of experience in emergency communications.

It was her experience, her priority for officer safety and her calm-under-fire attitude that played a crucial role on Aug. 20, 2006, when three Midlothian officers and a state trooper were all shot and wounded during an ambush by a deranged gunman.

Working alone during the first crucial minutes of the assault, Thompson was faced with the reality her entire shift of officers were incapacitated, severely injured and out of commission.

'I think it was because I wanted to let the officers know that help was on its way and there was someone there listening,' said Thompson when asked how she could remain so calm in such a chaotic situation.

Maintaining her professionalism and staying with her training in the face of her friends and colleagues being injured, Thompson simultaneously was able to dispatch and safely direct medical aid and rescue efforts to the officers; summon and safely direct multiple law enforcement agencies to the scene; keep up with the officers injuries and locations; handle the massive numbers of incoming 911 calls and respond with composure to the overwhelming amount of emergency radio communications.

Laura Wright, Thompson's supervisor, said of Thompson, 'People say that you play the way you practice. Chris does.

'She gives 100 percent of her effort each time she sits down in front of the radio. 'Officer safety is a priority for her, this is the way she practices, every single day.

'While no one can be truly prepared for this type of occurrence, Chris' years of training along with her talent for dispatching were evident on Aug. 20.'

Thompson was the Midlothian Police Department's 2006 Employee of the Year and has earned a certificate of merit and a mayoral citation. As a resident of Red Oak, Thompson is a member of the Texas Municipal Police Association, the Association of Police Communication Officials and an active member of the Midlothian Police Community Service League.

'Dispatchers and 911 operators are heroes that often go unsung,' said Midlothian Public Information Officer Britton Snipes.

'I'm proud to know Christine and am glad to see her receive this much deserved honor, she earned every bit of it.'

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