Honored UT Dallas Police Dispatcher Donna Shannon Mourned

The University community is mourning the loss of UT Dallas Police Dispatcher Donna Elaine Shannon, who died Jan. 4. She was 63.

Services have been set for 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 10, at Williams Memorial Chapel in Garland.

Shannon had more than 26 years of experience in law enforcement. She joined the UT Dallas Police Department in August 2008 and received multiple honors for her service. She was presented with the Life Saving Award and the Meritorious Conduct Award by UT System Police for her heroic actions to help a caller in crisis, and was recognized by the UT Dallas Office of Administration as its Outstanding Employee for the first quarter of 2010.

“What really stood out to me about Donna was how much she cared for people,” UT Dallas Police Chief Larry Zacharias said. “She cared for her fellow employees, the University community and especially the students that would call for police assistance. I remember the incident that resulted in her receiving the Life Saving Award. When the man asked her why she was doing this for him, her answer was, ‘Because I care.’ ”

Tricha Burleson, a UT Dallas police communications supervisor who worked with Donna for more than three years, said Donna had a contagious smile and friendly disposition.

“Donna was very caring and considered dispatching more than a job or profession. This was her calling,” Burleson said. “She often went above and beyond to help someone in need, and considered everyone she met as family. She had many ‘sons’ at the police department, and she had a special bond with them all.”

“She will be greatly missed by her UTD family,” Burleson said.

Shannon is survived by her husband, Chester; sons, Allen Kent and Christopher Kent; a brother, David Compton; and three grandchildren. A son, Kenneth Glen Kent, and brother, Dale Compton, preceded her in death.

A visitation has been scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 9, at Williams Funeral Directors in Garland. Burial will be in Hawkins after the funeral service.