Last year, Oroville Police Department dispatcher Kelsea Hunt was looking a change, the chance to work for a smaller department.

She found that and more when the Gridley-Biggs Police Department had an opening.

And the move seems to have worked out pretty well for both parties: Hunt was recently named the department’s Dispatcher of the Year.

The honor came as a surprise to Hunt, especially since she’d just joined the department about a year ago.

“I was very appreciative,” Hunt said. She currently works the day shift, but that schedule switches every three months or so. It involves three 12-hour shifts per week with an eight-hour shift added on every other week to round out an 80-hour pay period.

A 2007 Oroville High School graduate, Hunt grew up around law enforcement: Her mother worked for the FBI as an analyst for more than 25 years.

When a friend got hired in Gridley, Hunt decided to put her application in here as well.

“It seemed like a good fit,” Hunt said.

Her boss agrees.

“We were really lucky to get her from Oroville,” Gridley/Biggs Police Chief Dean Price said.

Hunt helps handle all the dispatch duties for both Gridley and Biggs. That involves monitoring four computer screens at once as well as taking calls.

One screen has the city’s dispatch system on it; another is connected to the Internet for searches; other screens have security cameras on them.

If this job sounds like it requires the ability to multitask, it does.

“Active listening is an important skill to have, too,” Hunt. “And you’ve got to be able to make quick decisions.”

During her shift, Hunt has to keep in touch with a supervisor and several other officers on duty.

She’s greatly enjoying working in Gridley so far.

“It’s got that small-town feel to it,” Hunt said. She commutes from Oroville.

Hunt said she enjoys the variety the job offers.

“Every day, you know you’re going to be doing something different,” Hunt said. “You never take the same call twice.”