Each year, the second full week in April is dedicated to the men and women who serve as Public Safety 9-1-1 Telecommunicators. These professionals make the difference between life and death situations in many instances.
Most people know to call 9-1-1 when they need help, but rarely do we stop to think about these seemingly nameless, faceless individuals until we experience actual emergencies. Every day, millions of people depend on the skills, expertise and commitment of the men and women who work in Public Safety Telecommunications. Dispatchers help save lives by answering emergency phone calls, dispatching emergency professionals and equipment while providing support to citizens in distress.
Dispatchers perform multiple tasks all while questioning a frantic caller. While getting essential information from the caller, they must record facts into a sophisticated software system, signal their fellow dispatchers to call needed response personnel, be aware of other calls coming into the dispatch center and filter out the constant noise of all other radio traffic and calls being answered by their fellow dispatchers.
Dispatchers have two constant companions, other dispatchers and stress. They depend on one, and try to ignore the other. They are chastened by upset callers and taken for granted by many. Dispatchers have a variety of backgrounds, work history, schooling and talents. With their differences they bring a range of wisdom and experience when they enter the dispatch center. They work together as one highly functioning machine. They care about people and they take pride being the lifeline of society – that steady voice in a storm – the one who knows how to handle every emergency and does it with style and grace; and, uncompromised competence.
The official name of the second week in April, according to a 1991 Congressional Declaration is “National Public Safety Telecommunications Week.” Current statistics show that there are over 200,000 Public Safety 9-1-1 Telecommunicators throughout the United States.
In St. Croix County, you have 18-dedicated and experienced 9-1-1 Emergency Telecommunicators that staff the Communications Center 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In 2014 they answered over 240,000 phone calls a year and dispatch over 90,000 calls for service for 37-various Public Safety Agencies. They are here for you when you need them and they take immeasurable pride in that fact.
The following are recognized for their dedication and service: Steven Bahneman, Technical Lead Telecommunicator (35 years); Thomas Barthman (27 years), Telecommunicator; Kevin Kirby, Telecommunicator (16 years; Robert Sutherland, Telecommunicator (16 years); Brian Posner, Lead Telecommunicator (14 years); Lecy Anne Marino, Telecommunicator (12 years); Sherry Kirby, Telecommunicator (11 years); Brian Duggan, Telecommunicator (11 years); Linda Jackson, Telecommunicator (11 years); Dana Fortier, Lead Telecommunicator (7 years); Joe Elkin, Telecommunicator (7 years); Chris Brunell, Telecommunicator (6 years); Jennifer Kerner, Telecommunicator (4 years); Tom Boyer, Telecommunicator (4 years); Shelley Lansing, Telecommunicator (3 years); Raquel Block, Telecommunicator (3 years); Kori Bacon, Telecommunicator (2 years); Ray Egan, Reserve Telecommunicator (2 years).