DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — An administrative secretary receives a service pin for her four decades of dedication and service to the Dayton Police Department.
For 40 years, Darlene West has been the voice behind the headset, answering calls for DPD’s West Patrol office.
“She’s basically an executive or administrative secretary,” describes DPD Major Chris Malson, West Patrol Operations Division Commander.
The title seems to be a simple one, but the job entails so much more and takes a special type of person.
“Everybody knows her. She always has a great personality, always happy, always willing to help,” states Major Malson.
Besides the normal office paperwork, she’s the primary contact with people who live in the West Patrol division — when they have complaints or need information.
Darlene started in 1979. Major Malson has worked with her for nearly half of her time with DPD.
“She saw me when I came in as a brand new rookie on the street,” says Major Malson.
“When I started, we started with a typewriter,” laughs Darlene. “Everything was handwritten. Everything was hand filed.”
Through the changes in staffing and technology over the years, her love for the city and love for people remain constant.
“I enjoy people because you have to enjoy people. You can’t do this job unless you enjoy people,” says Darlene.
She admits she’s never at a shortage for words.
“I like talking. I think you can kind of tell,” Darlene laughs.
Her big heart and listening ear have made her a master on the phone.
“I get people that are angry, upset, sad, just don’t know what to do. So when I get an opportunity to talk with them, I can calm them down. I can listen to them. I can direct them,” describes Darlene.
Wearing her service pin proudly, she knows she’s making a difference.
“Some people I will see again. Some people I will never see again. But it doesn’t matter. Because I’ve done what I’m supposed to do,” says Darlene.
“It’s been an honor over the years to work with her,” says Major Malson.