What does it take to be an effective 911 telecommunicator? As the first first responder, it takes knowledge, skill, and some would say, nerves of steel. As the 2022 PSAPs’ Finest Telecommunicator of the Year, Nakiya Moody, has everything it takes, and then some.
Nakiya Moody is a dedicated dispatcher who works multiple positions in the Alachua County Sheriff's Office Combined Communications Center located in Gainesville, Florida. She remains positive and upbeat through hard days that would break others' hearts and souls.
Nakiya is a top notch employee who radiates positivity and professionalism. Her knowledge is impressive. She can handle any type of incident without hesitation. Nakiya stands tall in every situation she manages, never allowing anyone else’s mood to affect hers.
Two major situations that she has handled provide insight into her outstanding skills as a telecommunicator. Nakiya received a call from a father who had returned home from work to find his wife on the front porch gasping for air, with a gunshot wound to the chest. While the caller was providing bleeding care instructions, he located his oldest son deceased beside the porch with the weapon underneath him. Nakiya calmly continued to provide reassurance and instructions.
The second major situation was an officer-involved shooting. It was initially dispatched as a domestic incident that later upgraded to the active shooter situation. The call lasted for several hours, and Nakiya again, managed the situation flawlessly. Her Command Staff, and multiple responding units all commended her on her calm demeanor during the high stress event.
Recently I had an opportunity to talk to Nakiya about what she loves most about her work and what being recognized as PSAPs’ Finest Telecommunicator of the Year has meant to her.
What attracted you to a career in public safety communications?
Nakiya: The potential to make a difference in the world and have a career that matches my personal values is what pulled me towards a career in 911. I love to help others and this job was the perfect way to accomplish that and make a difference, no matter how big or small.
What is your most memorable career experience?
Nakiya: I get this question a lot, and honestly there are too many to count. There is a blend of both good and bad experiences that stick with me. What always stands out above everything else is my team of coworkers. When things get tough, it truly is an amazing and beautiful thing to watch everyone jump into different roles to help out and keep things running. Together, as a team, we never skip a beat. We’re a well-oiled machine. This job would not be possible without great teamwork and without the support from our chain of command.
What do you most love about what you do?
Nakiya: I love being the anonymous voice. I am the one who gets to be calm during what could be someone’s worst day. It’s almost like I’m a private superhero, and that adds a magical element to a hard job.
What advice would you have for others thinking about a similar career path?
Nakiya: My biggest advice is to try it out first. This career is absolutely not for everyone, and that is okay. However, at least check into it to see if it interests you. I remember thinking that I could never make it in this job with all of the things I had to remember. The next thing I knew, here I am going on almost 11 years.
If you decide to pursue this career, always remember at the end of the day the words “let it go.” You always should keep your home life and career in 911 separate; that is the only way to truly succeed at the job and give your best to the people you serve both at work and at home.
What does it mean to be recognized with a PSAP’s Finest Award?
Nakiya: To be recognized out of all the centers in our nation, out of all of the talented dispatchers out there, there are just truly no words to fully describe the feeling it gives me. It makes me beyond proud to be a 911 telecommunicator. This award reinforces that what we do in 911, and all of the hard work we give, doesn’t go completely unnoticed and is appreciated.
The biggest thanks goes to Commander Danika Lubold for nominating me for this award. I also appreciate the support of the rest of our command staff, and my coworkers (who are not just my teammates, but like family members), and of course my family at home for all of their support and understanding every day. I could not do well at my job without everyone else on my team.
I feel like this is a win for the Alachua County Combined Communications Center as a whole, and I am proud of everyone.
- Line Supervisor
- PSAP of the Year
- Above & Beyond
- Lifetime Achievement
Know someone you’d like to nominate for a PSAPs’ Finest award?
To submit a nomination for any of the PSAPs' Finest Awards categories or to read about previous winners, simply visit the PSAPs' Finest website.
Questions regarding the 2023 PSAPs' Finest Awards can be directed to PSInfo@NICE.com.