CLEAR LAKE, Iowa - Being a dispatcher is a tough job, with nearly every call coming from someone in distress. But thanks to the quick thinking and dedication of a Clear Lake dispatcher, a car chase that occurred last Saturday had a much more positive ending than it otherwise would have.
During a call to Clear Lake dispatch last Saturday night, 24 year-old Evac Cave of Council Bluffs was speaking erratically and making incoherent statements, according to police. Officers were dispatched to North Shore Drive and Clark Road on the Clear Lake-Ventura border to check on his welfare. That welfare check would later turn into a pursuit that lasted until Cave surrendered to police at the intersection of 230th and Balsam, south of Ventura.
During the ordeal, dispatcher Paige Conklin stayed on the phone with Cave for 40 minutes, staying calm and professional establishing a rapport with Cave while also providing necessary information to officers. Communications supervisor Erin Froning applauds Conklin's professionalism and work handling the situation.
"Just by being empathetic, listening and trying to pick up on some of those cues and keep talking to the officers, telling them, 'this is what he's saying, this is all I can get, this is all I can get him to do.' And eventually, they found him."
While dispatchers go through extensive training, Froning says each call is different.
"Every call is unique, every call is different, we remind them of that often. But you come back to being a human. Our callers are human, our dispatchers are human, our officers are human. Just be empathetic with them and reverse the roles, and remember that this is their crisis, they need our help."
Cave was taken into custody and charged with OWI, possession of drug paraphernalia and multiple traffic violations. There were no injuries reported during the pursuit, and the only damage that was reported were three slashed tires on Cave's vehicle that were caused by the use of stop sticks by officers.