Lieutenant Austin Garrett made his last moments on the job as a first responder memorable as he communicated with a special dispatcher: his daughter. Garrett had been a police officer for the Chattanooga Police Department for 25 years.
One final call
After 25 years of service, Garrett signed off with a call to the county’s 911 Emergency Communications District Dispatcher. What made it so heartwarming was that the woman on the other end of the Tennessee cop’s call was his daughter Hailey. A video of the sweet call became a social media sensation in 2019, with over a million views on YouTube.
In some of Garrett’s final words as a first responder, he gives her daughter some loving advice: “Be careful. Don’t forget who you are.” In response, Hailey told her father, “You’ve been a mentor and a great friend to many during your career.” She went on to say, “We all wish you well on your future endeavors. Thank you for your hard work and dedication. I love you daddy.”
An emotional moment for the family
As the video shows, it was clearly an emotional moment for the father and daughter. Both got a little choked up during their little chat, and rightfully so. Spending 25 years protecting and serving a community, it’s found to bring up some feelings when it all comes to an end. His daughter not only grew up watching her father, the police officer, but his dedication no doubt inspired her to serve the community and become a dispatcher.
Witnessing the interaction no doubt brought tears to the eyes of the millions of viewers who watched it over various platforms. So often, it’s easier to see the harsh realities of a first responder job without thinking of the people inside of the uniforms or on the other end of the emergency calls. This was a reminder of the softer side of working as a first responder and all that goes into it.
Garrett’s retirement from the Chattanooga Police Department doesn’t mean he’s out of the game entirely, though. Closing that chapter meant opening up a new one, still in law enforcement. He now serves as the chief deputy for the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department.
First responders and the military have so much in common
First responders are pillars of their communities for the help they provide every single day on the job. They see the greater good in their work and put their lives on the line in the process.
Choosing the job of a first responder signals a deep commitment to the community they serve. Not only is it a dangerous job, but they always have to be adaptable and flexible. Regardless of their particular uniform, first responders must constantly be learning new skills as technology advances. It’s their quick reaction times and ability to adapt that often saves lives.
When first responders take their jobs, they know it means sacrificing traditional working hours and time with their families. Yet, they choose it anyway to protect their communities. In this way, they are similar to those who choose to serve in the military. The camaraderie that comes with putting their lives on the line is undeniable.
Related: Honoring our Fallen isn’t political. It’s American.