Parker County Dispatch Telecommunicator Ricky Huff was recently recognized with two awards for Telecommunicator of the Year for his quick actions and ability to remain calm during a 911 active shooter call.
Huff received the North Central Texas Council of Governments Regional Telecommunicator of the Year Award along with the State Telecommunicator of the Year Award from the National Emergency Number Association, and was presented by Parker County Sheriff Russ Authier.
Huff was employed with Springtown Police at the time of the incident and came to work for the Parker County Sheriff's Office in Nov. 2020.
Huff, 19, was a new dispatcher at the time, taking the initial call 11 minutes after his shift began June 9, 2020. Huff took the call at 6:11 p.m. referencing a domestic disturbance call in the 800 block of Harris Road in Springtown, where the call quickly escalated to an active shooter resulting in a murder/suicide, requiring Hall to dispatch a multi-agency response including Parker County Regional Special Weapons and Tactics Team, sheriff's deputies, officers from Springtown and Reno Police agencies as well as Texas Department of Public Safety state troopers, Authier said.
Once Huff had all units en route, he notified all deputies and officers of the suspect's location and that he was armed.
"Ricky remained on the line with the caller obtaining as much information as possible for all law enforcement officers," Authier said.
The caller informed Huff that she was hiding from the suspect, and Huff maintained his composure, making multiple attempts to calm the caller and get her to escape the residence. Huff heard the suspect enter the room, confront the caller and heard a single gunshot before the call disconnected. The suspect then began shooting at officers on scene, striking and injuring several law enforcement officers.
Huff continued to remain calm making continual status reports with all law enforcement personnel for personal safety checks and dispatching additional emergency personnel to the scene. Authier said during an active shooter call, it is vital to every deputy on scene for the telecommunicator to remain focused.
"Every dispatcher is aware of the seriousness of the scenes they are sending their law enforcement officers into," Authier said. "Regardless of the unseen danger, they must remain calm because they are the first lifeline for every deputy and emergency responder. Ricky is definitely deserving of this award. No one could have expected a more calm and collected, professional performance from even a veteran dispatcher."
Huff was nominated by Springtown Police Sgt. Jason Cobb, who wrote a nomination letter to the North Central Texas Council of Governments which in turn, submitted it to the National Emergency Number Association about Huff's actions stating.
"Throughout this incident Ricky displayed the highest levels of professionalism and composure despite the unsettling nature of the events that unfolded," Cobb wrote. "Professionally handling a call of this nature as efficiently as Ricky did would be a challenge for even the most seasoned telecommunications officers, but factoring in his age and level of experience makes Ricky's performance all the more impressive."
Authier echoed Cobb's nomination as he presented the award to Huff this week.
"We are so very proud to have you on our team, Ricky," he said. "Your actions and abilities saved lives that day. You are an asset to the sheriff's office and all agencies under our telecommunications umbrella."