Ionia County 9-1-1 Dispatchers Help to Aid in Emergency’s Using Smart911Chat


Three 9-1-1 Dispatchers Honored with SmartSave Award in Recognition of Their Excellence While Aiding Assaulted Women Unable to Communicate

Ionia CO.,MI.,  9-1-1 Dispatchers Kathy Heydenburk, Jenny Mcninch, and Becky Hoeve, from the Ionia County Central Dispatch are being recognized for their outstanding efforts to aid a citizens in need using Smart911, the County’s enhanced 9-1-1 service.

Today, Director Jim Valentine presented Heydenburk, Mcninch and Hoeve with the ‘SmartSave Award’ – a decoration created by Smart911 that aims to honor 9-1-1 dispatchers for their exceptional work and dedication in response to a citizen emergency.

Smart911 provides 9-1-1 call takers with improved data and communications on each call. The platform functions allow 9-1-1 call takers to text any mobile phone that calls in during events where callers are unable or don’t feel safe to speak. Heydenburk, McNinch and Hoeve all utilized this feature to gain lifesaving information and help resolve emergency situations.

  • Heydenburk-Heydenburk received a call at 6:25am on July 7, 2016 requesting emergency assistance in locating two missing teenage girls that were suspected to be with an 18 year old girl. Officers were not immediately available at the time of the call. One of the missing teens had a phone with her as well as the 18 year old. Heydenburk was able to leave a message on one of the phones while the second phone was unable to receive messages but none of the missing girls responded. Heydenburk then put both girls’ phone numbers into Smart911 Chat and initiated text messages to them. Heydenburk sent messages explaining that the two girls were being reported as runaways and should return home to avoid having the police looking for them. The girls did not respond to the texts but promptly returned home much to their parents relief and were safe by the time the officer arrived at the home.


  • Micnick-Mcninch received a call at 1:12 am on July 31, 2016 from a woman in distress and struggled to verify the callers address due to poor cell service. McNinch immediately initiated a text conversation through Smart911Chat. The woman and was able to provide vital information concerning her location and confirm the nature of the emergency. McNinch learned that the woman had been assaulted and the male subject was armed with a knife. Mcninch was able to provide updated information to responding officers, including the fact that the suspect was armed. With this information officers were able to respond appropriately and arrest the man without further incident.


  • Hoeve-Hoeve received call at 10:08 am which was then dropped. Hoeve called the dropped number back and asked if she had an emergency. The woman responded “No I don’t have an emergency I missed dialed I’m fine.” Hoeve sensed that something wasn’t right and began a line of questioning that would allow the caller to respond without anyone knowing who she was talking to. Hoeve also used the Smart911Chat ability to continue to gather vital information from the caller without raising suspicion. Smart911 allowed Hoeve to maintain text contact with the caller gathering additional pertinent information while her partner dispatched help to the scene.


“Heydenburk, Mcninch and Hoeve’s quick thinking during these emergencies led to successful responses to situations that could have ended very differently.” Director Jim Valentine continued, “The Smart911 system gave our 9-1-1 Communication Officers the tools to contact, gain and relay vital information that resulted in the safe return of missing girls and the rescue of two women suffering from domestic violence.”

Smart911 is a national service available to all residents and travelers in Ionia County. It provides the option to create a free Safety Profile for one’s household, including any information they want 9-1-1 and first responders to have in the event of an emergency.  The profile created will immediately display on a 9-1-1 dispatcher’s screen when making an emergency call.

Residents are encouraged to create a free Safety Profile at All information is kept private and secure, and only becomes available to emergency responders when 9-1-1 is dialed.

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