Meet the officer: City police dispatcher Pamela Wilkerson

OKEECHOBEE — Okeechobee Police Department (OPD) emergency dispatch operator Pamela Wilkerson was born at the Okeechobee General Hospital in 1973. She has been a member in the Okeechobee community for the entirety of her 45-year life.

Emergency dispatch operator, Pamela Wilkerson, OPD.

She recalled her childhood memories of summers spent on the beaches of Boca Grande with her grandparents and cousins. Mrs. Wilkerson also shared that she would spend time at her grandmother’s – with siblings, cousins and friends – where they would explore the many acres they grew up on “riding horses, four-wheelers, working cattle, swimming in the creek, building forts.” Mrs. Wilkerson enjoyed being outdoors and playing games like baseball with kids in her neighborhood, but also admitted to watching television as a youth when she stated, “On Friday nights we would gather around the front of the TV, and watch The Dukes of Hazard.”

Mrs. Wilkerson graduated from Okeechobee High School in 1991. Her favorite subject to study was agriculture with Roger McWaters, also known as “Mr. Mac.” She said she liked “getting to work with the animals and taking the ag bus out into the cow pastures.” While she did not play any sports in high school, Mrs. Wilkerson stated, “I liked to watch the Brahmans play some football and I still love to watch the Florida Gators play.” She said, “My social time with friends” was the part she liked most about attending school and that “Algebra” was what she liked the least.

Mrs. Wilkerson has also continued her education after high school having taken several college-level courses at Indian River State College over the years.

Mrs. Wilkerson began in the work force at Wise TV/Radio Shack for Tom Elmore, who she said, “was a great mentor and taught me a lot of day-to-day skills that have stuck with me to this day.”

When asked about her worst employment experiences, she replied, “There are none really. I have learned something from all of them and taken some good memories with me.”

Prior to working for OPD, Mrs. Wilkerson had worked in the medical field. When asked why she chose to work as an emergency dispatch operator, Mrs. Wilkerson said that while employed in an emergency room and at the time of her application with the city, she “liked all the excitement it could bring and also getting an opportunity to help people.” She has since spent over 12 years as a dispatcher with OPD. When she was asked how her career created value in her life, Mrs. Wilkerson responded, “I have seen and dealt with many people’s situations and it brings me to remind myself to thank God for my few and minimal problems.” She continued, “I try my best to help these people with their needs and to keep my officers safe while I send them out to assist.”

Mrs. Wilkerson stated that there are at least three individuals who have had major influences over her career. “I have had a few, one being my late Sergeant Tom Tarner. He was a very kind man, a great leader and always seemed to keep his cool, no matter the situation. Also, both my past Chief Dennis Davis and current Chief Bob Peterson for being great mentors along the way. Both have gone out of their way to help me out at times and have always made me feel like I could go to them for anything.” Mrs. Wilkerson is one of many in her family to work in the law enforcement sector, noting that she has several cousins, uncles and an aunt who work in the field.

Mrs. Wilkerson and her husband Sean share three children; Justin, 25, Jordan, 21, and Jessica, 15. When she’s not working as a dispatch operator she “loves” spending days off with her favorite person, 4-year-old grandson Carson. She also enjoys quiet time soaking up the sun in her pool, going on vacations, fishing and hunting along with just spending time with her family and kids.

Mrs. Wilkerson said she would like to live in the late 1800s during the time frame of American writer Laura Ingalls Wilder, who is acknowledged for the Little House on the Prairie series of children’s books that was released from 1932 to 1943 and were based on her childhood in a settler and pioneer family.

Mrs. Wilkerson said, “Things were simpler then and people just lived off the land.” She jokingly continued, “or take Okeechobee back to when there were fewer people, more dirt roads and only one red light!”

When asked who – as an influential figure – she would like to meet, Mrs. Wilkerson replied, “President Donald Trump … I have a few good ideas to run by him.”

Mrs. Wilkerson concluded her interview stating she would like to have super-human powers like that of Wonder Woman, to include her strength and Lasso of Truth – her primary tool and weapon – which had the power to compel those it bound to tell the truth.

The Lake Okeechobee News is published every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and now includes news from around the lake every Wednesday.

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