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Longtime Harrison County dispatcher retires after 25 years

By Robin Y. Richardson
May 16, 2017 at 4 a.m.

At right, County Judge Hugh Taylor presents retiring dispatcher Michael Clickard a certificate of appreciation as Lt. Jay Webb with the Harrison County Sheriff's Office looks on.

For more than two decades, Michael "Ed" Clickard has been the constant voice that residents and officers have depended upon for assistance and guidance in times of crisis.

"Ed, you have been the driving force of Harrison County's communications and our officers and for their safety over 20 years," Lt. Jay Webb with the Harrison County Sheriff's Office told the 911 dispatcher Monday, congratulating him on his retirement after 25 years of service.

Webb said Clickard is the person he'd want to have on the other end of the phone in the event of an emergency.

"When somebody's calling in saying their plane has crashed, (or) the world is coming to an end … you are the one that takes that call," Webb said. "You get all the information about everything. You are the guy on the other end of the phone."

Webb said it's been a pleasure to work with Clickard and the department is sad to see him go.

"You've touched every communications person in that office," Webb said, sharing how disappointed all were to learn of Clickard's retirement.

"We're going to miss you," he said, thanking him for the wealth of years he's invested in the department. "You've done a wonderful job and you're a good friend."

"We're very pleased that we had the opportunity," he said.

County Judge Hugh Taylor echoed Webb's sentiments, thanking Clickard for his years of service, despite minimal pay.

"Knowing what the pay scale has always been these 25 years…it's graduated up a little bit, but you've worked as a public servant from day one," Taylor said. "That's the heart of what you've done.

"Nobody's getting rich over there…or in any (type of) government - city or county - but it's about public service and you've really done well, Ed, and we're proud and we're grateful," Taylor said.

Pct. 1 Commissioner Hatfield also applauded Clickard on a superb job over the years.

"Ed, I've worked with you several times. We made some upgrades up there, trying to make your job a little bit easier," Hatfield told Clickard. "You've done a great job. It's been a pleasure to work with you."

Commissioners Zephaniah Timmins, Philip Mauldin and Jay Ebarb also thanked him for his hard work and dedication to the county.

"As a former constable, it was always good to have Ed on the other side of the radio," Mauldin said, complimenting Clickard's professionalism. "He's helped me out in a lot of different situations when I called up there to ask questions."

Ebarb said it's bittersweet to see him leave.

"We appreciate all of what you do and time that you spent protecting the citizens of Harrison County," said Ebarb.

Mark Knuckols, the county's maintenance supervisor, said his appreciation for Clickard dates back to the 90s when Knuckols served on the police force for the city of Marshall.

"Even back in the '90s when I was a city police officer, Ed was there," said Knuckols, noting how officers were always happy to work with him.

"He probably got it through genetics because his mother was probably the best dispatcher I've ever seen," Knuckols said.

County fire marshal Thomas Mock said he also appreciated Clickard, and thanked him for exhibiting exemplary service.

Clickard, whose mother Martha was a 911 dispatcher for years, said he appreciates the opportunity to do the job.

Now, "it's time to move on," Clickard said, sharing he's lasted longer than the average "burnout" period.

"The county's still in good hands," he assured.

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