Livermore native Brad Timberlake attended a summer college program for firefighting after graduating from Livermore Falls High School in 2004. His career path changed. The Farmington man stayed in the emergency response field and became an emergency dispatcher at the age of 19. He also serves as a reserve police officer.

He worked his way up to a communications supervisor in Somerset County. Timberlake, 31, and now living in Farmington, was recognized on May 4 as Supervisor of the Year by the Maine Chapter of the National Emergency Number Association. 

Q: Were you surprised to be recognized as Supervisor of the Year by the Maine Chapter of the National Emergency Number Association? Being surprised would be an understatement! To first be nominated as a potential Supervisor of the Year is a feeling of accomplishment in and of itself. To take it a step further and be voted for it amongst the nominees, who were also very deserving, was a very proud feeling.

Q: What made you want to seek a career as a dispatcher? After high school, I attended a college program as a “live-in firefighter” in southern Maine. I returned home after the semester’s completion and was encouraged to apply for a position as a dispatcher at a local police department, which was something I had never even considered. I applied and got hired full time at the age of 19 and have worked in that capacity ever since. 
Q: What do you get out of it? As a dispatcher: a sense of pride knowing that I can be there to assist someone in crisis or during the potentially worst event of their lives. Knowing that my acquired skills are trusted and sought out by a caller in a bad situation. As a supervisor: being able to pass along my acquired knowledge in the field. Also, the ability to comfort those that I am supervising after or during a difficult call coupled with the ability to jump in and assist when needed.

Q: What was the most stressful situation as an emergency dispatcher you have handled? As dispatchers, we deal with countless stressful situations on a daily basis. There is a range in stress depending upon the type of call. For me personally, the most difficult calls are those medical in nature dealing with young children. For me professionally, the fear of responders getting into situations in which they become injured while trying to assist others.

 Q: What was the easiest? Somerset Regional Communications Center has a program referred to as the “Friendly Caller Program.” The elderly folks of our local communities elect to be a part of the program. The participants may have an illness or may live in a remote area alone, making daily in-person checks more of a challenge. Each person in the program calls in daily between 7 to 11 a.m. to let us know that they’re doing OK. It’s definitely a way to build relationships with those in our community while serving a purpose to them as well. 

Q: Do you find your work as a reserve police officer gives you a better understanding of what police need for dispatching services? I firmly believe that working in both capacities, I have a better understanding and appreciation for both respects. Because I work patrol, I feel that my dispatching resources are vast. I also feel that is helps me to ask more closely related police questions when on the dispatching side of things.

Q: How many employees do you oversee? Typically about seven throughout the shift I work. There are 13 employed dispatchers.

Q: Is it inspiring to share your knowledge with less experienced or more experienced dispatchers? I am proud to be able to share my obtained knowledge through training new employees or new dispatchers through classes that I teach. Being able to share the occasional “exciting story” and seeing the reactions, makes me remember how much I truly enjoy the work that I do daily.

Brad Timberlake

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