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911, what is your emergency?

Brianna Ott is a dispatcher for the Douglas Regional 911 Communications Center. Last year, she had the rare privilege of delivering a baby over the phone, twice.

Brianna Ott loves to live in Douglas County. She grew up here and returned after college to make her career, serving all of us in our worst times. Brianna is a 911 dispatcher at the Douglas Regional 911 Communications Center (DRCC).

The DRCC handles 911 calls for the sheriffs of Douglas County and Elbert County, the Elizabeth Police Department, Simla Police Department and 12 different area fire departments.

Brianna never knows if the phone call she answers will be a medical help request or an active police situation. It also means sometimes she gets to tell her father where to go – he is a volunteer driver with a local fire department.

Becoming a first responder was a natural fit for Brianna. Her father has been a volunteer fireman for more than two decades and her mother is a retired registered nurse. Brianna learned from her parents’ example the value, dedication and joy of helping others.

Her passion for criminal justice began in college at the University of Northern Colorado. Earning a degree in audiology and speech language sciences and a minor in criminal justice, Brianna also met a retired deputy sheriff who became a mentor to her.

After encouragement from a friend who is also a dispatcher, Brianna investigated the job requirements and did the extensive training at DRCC to become a qualified dispatcher. Once she started, Brianna said she was hooked very quickly; she enjoys the variety of her work and that it is different each day.

Dispatchers are sometimes known as the “first, first responders” because they are the very first contact that citizens have with public safety personnel in an emergency.

“A lot of times people are desperate for help, and we are their only lifeline,” Brianna explained. “Rarely is someone calling 911 because they are having a good day; dispatchers have to be the sense of calm during some of the worst moments of their lives.”

But sometimes dispatchers are part of the best events of life. Brianna delivered two babies over the phone last year. Although dispatchers are highly trained to talk someone through delivery, usually the fire department arrives before the baby is delivered and dispatchers do not get to follow through. Hearing the first cries of a new baby is magical, even when it is over the phone. Those are Brianna’s most memorable calls.

Outside of work, Brianna’s passion has four hooves – her Arabian horse, Desert. Known for their wide-ranging skills, Arabians can learn anything. The two have participated in sport horse competitions, including jumping and barrel racing. Together, they are adventurous, trail riding and taking advantage of the preserved open space in Douglas County.

“Hearing the first cries of a new baby is magical, even when it is over the phone.”

Brianna Ott’s passion for horses runs deep. She can often be found trail riding around Douglas County on her Arabian horse named Desert.


By Celeste McNeil; photos courtesy of Brianna Ott




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