Fresno, California - They're a vital link when you call 911. Tonight a Fresno dispatcher was honored for how she handled a deadly active shooter call. Dispatcher Judy Garza was honored at the annual officer of the year ceremony.
Judy Garza has spent almost three decades on the headset in the Fresno Police Department's dispatch center taking thousands of calls in her career, but two of those calls were unlike any other.
"Well I had just got on duty. I was just logging on maybe five minutes was working radio and the call came in it said active shooter at the jail and my adrenaline gets going and I broadcasted it," said Garza.
"Units be advised. All units in service, respond code 3. Officer down in the main jail, 1225 M street."
Two years later dispatcher judy garza is receiving an award for her performance during a shooting that badly injured two deputies inside the Fresno County Jail.
"It was very, very scary because we didn't know what the outcome would be," said Garza.
Law enforcement leaders say she delivered key information to help injured officers survive and to bring a suspect into custody.
"Suspect is still inside the jail. Copy, suspect inside."
Garza says she'll never forget the damage done to officers during that call.
"It was tough. It was tough. It took me awhile. It took me awhile to get passed that. Always going home and thinking about it," said Graza.
Then, less than a year later this call came in.
"Southwest units responding to shot spotter 300 block of North Van Ness."
Garza was working the radio channel investigators say Kori Muhammad started a shooting rampage killing three citizens in less than two minutes.
"When we find out who it is and officers see him and have a visual of him I'm just praying please don't let anyone get hurt," said Garza.
Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer is proud of Garza's professionalism she's an award recipient at a time when dispatchers are desperately needed.
"I really do love my job. It's very stressful, but there are many happy moments where you can make a difference," said Garza.
Garza said in a speech she is very thankful for the technology Chief Dyer provides dispatchers to do the job and says her number one goal each day is getting officers home safe at the end of their shift.