Aimee Barajas has been identified as the 911 dispatcher that was heard last night during the shooting on the Michigan State University campus. She was the calm voice amid the chaos, relaying information to law enforcement as it came in at a fast and furious rate. There were reports of shots fired, suspicious people, suspicious activity and a multitude of responding law enforcement officers and officials spread throughout the campus that needed up-to-date information.
Her sister Alicia Barajas posted on Facebook, “In moments of great sorrow, when the world doesn’t make sense, we are reminded to look for the helpers. Last night, Aimee was the voice that so many turned to in order to make sense of the senseless. In the midst of our collective confusion, helplessness, anger, and grief, she directed not only hundreds of first responders but also thousands of community members worried about their classmates, family, coworkers, and community members. We have so much trauma as a community to process and so much work to do. But thank God for the helpers.”
She went on to say, “I am so indescribably proud of her. It’s a bittersweet gift to be able to do what she does to help so many while carrying the burden of all she hears. I also know how deeply blessed we are that she is not only of our community’s helpers, but that Adi, Evie and Sonia get to grow up with her as a role model. That their Tita, their hero, is a helper to so many. I love you, sis.”
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Back in August of last year, Aimee posted “I am not ‘just’ a dispatcher. And I will leave it at that.” The post has received many thank you’s and comments over the past 24 hours including Adrianne Alexus who said, “YOU ARE AMAZING! Your calm, organized, listening ear was amazing. Thank you for being outstanding at your job.”
Whitney May said, “You are a true hero” and Gene Scott Kind said, “Not all Heroes wear capes! Outstanding job last night!”
Aimee also posted a story about the critical shortage of 911 operators across the nation from a segment that was on Good Morning America.
In September of 2022, Bridge Michigan wrote about the shortage, a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, long hours, the stress of the job and low pay. Michigan has 136 emergency call centers and they are short staffed like many other places in the country. However, short staffing at a 911 center could lead to a mistake or an unanswered call and be the difference between life and death.
Aimee posted on her Facebook page today, “I am grateful and overwhelmed with all of the love and support I have gotten from work, family, friends, and the community. But please remember the names of the victims: Brian Fraser, Alexandria Verner, and the third unnamed victim. As well as the five others injured and thousands traumatized from this incident caused by one single person.”
She continued, “I was doing my job. It’s what we are trained to do, a call you hope you never get but always have to be prepared for. Last night wouldn’t have gone as smooth if it weren’t for my amazing co workers who I call family, as well as the hundreds of first responders, from all over mid Michigan, who came to the scene, some on their nights off, or after already working a full shift. Spartan Strong.
Also, if you could contact your local state reps and tell them that 911 Dispatchers should be classified as first responders.”
With our Michigan 911 dispatchers answering a whopping six million emergency calls in 2020, the 911 dispatchers are what Bridge Michigan calls a “critical link for police, fire and emergency medical response. When the link frays, it can threaten the broader system.”
MSU, East Lansing and the rest of Michigan were all lucky to have Aimee Barajas as that vital link in Ingham County the night of February 13th.
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