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Brandon Russell: From Dispatcher to Mail Carrier . . . to Dispatcher

First Shift (7 a.m.–3 p.m.)

Brandon Russell joined UTPD Dispatch in November 2018 after a short stint as a rural mail carrier in Sevier County.

He decided on the UT job over others because of the tone of the interactions during his interview and tour of the police department. “I got a really good feeling from everyone I met,” he said. “Everyone was professional, polite, and acted like they enjoyed what they do, and made an effort to make me feel welcome.”

Brandon Russell, UTPD dispatcher on first shift.The university’s employment benefits also factored into the decision, he said.

Before the move to the Volunteer State, the Alabama native worked for the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office in Gonzales, Louisiana, for nine years—three as a corrections officer and six as a dispatcher.

Outside interests: When not at work, he spends time with his parents, wife, and children. The family enjoys hiking and playing cards together. Russell is working on a project car with his son and learning to play Dungeons & Dragons with his daughter. He also enjoys watching science fiction movies and hanging out with his German shepherd, Hank.

What surprises people about your job? “Many are shocked by the amount of work and multitasking dispatchers do. Most people think we just answer the phone and tell a patrolman about it, but we go a lot further than that. We receive a lot of calls from people who don’t need a police officer but don’t know who else to call. Often we listen to their issue and then direct them to the office or agency they need. And we are usually doing this while giving out a call to one officer over the radio, helping a second officer with paperwork in the center, and trying to find information through the National Crime Information Center database for a third officer.”

If he didn’t do this . . . He would do something creative like write or work for one of the shows or theaters in Sevier County.

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