Barton criminal justice student excels in multiple areas of emergency service
March 7, 2013
Story and Photos by Joe Vinduska
Barton Community College Graduate Dena Popp is the Supervisor for the Barton County 911 Dispatch team, a Reserve Sergeant for the Barton County Sheriff’s Office and also works as a volunteer EMT in Ellinwood and she can’t imagine doing anything else.
Popp’s interest in law enforcement and emergency services stemmed from days of her youth spent helping her dad, who worked for a towing service and remembered being on scenes of accidents as well as the constant talk on the radio scanner in their home.
“It was very interesting hearing the radio chatter,” she said. “So, that’s why I got into dispatch and it just became more intriguing.”
Popp worked backward toward her education. She began her dispatch career in the mid-90s before she received her degree, and continued to work there for several years before making a change.
“Through my job as a dispatcher I started getting to know the officers, and they encouraged me to come out and ride with them and try it,” she said. “I started liking it more and more and decided I wanted to be on patrol.”
Popp chased after her goal and graduated from the training academy and served as a patrolling officer for the Barton County Sheriff’s office for four years until she had her daughter in 2003 and returned to dispatch. However, she remained a Barton County Sheriff’s Reserve Deputy and was promoted to Reserve Sergeant in 2009.
Popp’s decision to attend Barton stemmed from her personal desire to be the best she could be at her job. She endorses the training she received at Barton from the unique perspective of someone who already has extensive experience in the field of law enforcement.
“I really enjoyed my training at Barton,” she said. “So much of what we learned was very hands on and was taught to us by experienced instructors that have been in the field themselves for many years.”