Sheriff Ivey Honors Dispatchers During National Public Safety Week
By By Wayne Ivey, Brevard County Sheriff // April 17, 2013
A NOTE FROM BREVARD COUNTY SHERIFF WAYNE IVEY
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – I wanted to take a moment to thank our Telecommunicators who are being nationally recognized this week. In preparing some words to recognize these heroes, I came across some comments prepared by Jim Reeves, an 18 year veteran 9-1-1 Emergency Dispatcher with the Tulare County (California) Sheriff’s Department. I don’t think anyone could express it as elegantly:
This week—April 14-20, 2013—is National Public Safety Telecommunications Week.
It is designated as a time when we all can thank public safety men and women who respond to emergency calls and dispatch emergency professionals and equipment during times of crisis. We can show gratitude to 9-1-1 calltakers and dispatchers that maintain radio and emergency phone systems, communications staff trainers, communications center personnel, and other public safety telecommunications staff across the country who work tirelessly, often behind the scenes, to help you during emergencies.
The real first responder to any incident is the 9-1-1 dispatcher. Whether one of a large team of operators and dispatchers in a large center, or a single dispatcher in a small community, they are the person picking up the phone and saying “9-1-1, where’s the emergency?” Our Telecommunicators become the first contact for people who are in a crisis of some kind. They are the link that brings the Police, the Deputy Sheriff, the Firefighters, or the Paramedics and EMTs. They are the “first” First Responders.
Linked to the emergency only by a phone line, it’s up to the 9-1-1 dispatcher to determine what’s going on, what needs to happen to respond to the emergency, and what personel and equipment needs to be dispatched.
A screaming mother holding the limp body of her baby, a distraught elderly person trying to wake up their spouse, a child hiding in a closet while it’s parents fight in the next room, or a confused person who was just in an automobile accident and doesn’t know where they are – these are just a few of the types of calls that come into 9-1-1 centers around the United States every moment. It’s up to the 9-1-1 telecommunicator to calm the caller, enter precise information into a computer, and if in a “one horse center”, do the actual dispatching of equipment and people.
Most of the time, the Telecommunicator doesn’t see the end result of the call. They’ve moved on to the next 9-1-1 call, and then the next. It’s rare that they get to know the final outcome of the emergency, but the satisfaction of doing an important job to help the public is what drives them.
Many times, it can seem like the 9-1-1 telecommunicator is a forgotten link in the world of emergency services. Often located in a cramped room that used to serve some other purpose, and usually tucked away in basements of 50′s and 60′s era “fallout shelters”, ”dispatch”, or “radio”, can be a daunting place to work. Recognition often does not come easy, even when much of the prep work that allows field units to quickly resolve emergencies in the field is handled by telecommunicators before “first responders” arrive on scene.
The hours are terrible, the pay mediocre, and the stress can be intense. The satisfaction of helping in times of need is a prime motivator of 9-1-1 Telecommunicators. On rare occasions, like NTCW, they get the accolades they truly deserve. Often, the next day they’re back at their dispatch console, taking calls and dispatching units to deal with today’s emergencies. They’ll be back again tomorrow, to start all over again.
“9-1-1, where’s your emergency?”
I truly can’t thank our team members and those of our Public Safety partners enough for all they do to keep our Deputies, Firefighters and citizens safe!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey has been a law enforcement officer for over three decades. Sheriff Ivey is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and has a Bachelor’s Degree from Daytona State College in Management and Supervision. Sheriff Ivey’s background in law enforcement is inclusive of Management, Criminal Investigations, Narcotics, Patrol Services, Public Integrity Investigations, and Corrections.
Prior to being elected in 2012, Sheriff Ivey served the citizens of the State of Florida as a Resident Agent in Charge for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. As a member of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Sheriff Ivey developed and created the country’s first ever statewide Task Force on Identity Theft. That same year the Task Force was named one of the top five most innovative programs in the country by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and investigated approximately 44 million dollars in fraud cases. Additionally, as a member of FDLE, Sheriff Ivey created the Child Abduction Response Team (C.A.R.T) that re-defined the way Child Abduction cases are conducted throughout the country today. The program was later selected as the most innovative program in the country by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and is now used as a nationwide model in the response and investigation of child abductions.
Sheriff Ivey has testified before the United States Congress on law enforcement related matters and has extensive experience in the area of Public Integrity Investigations. Sheriff Ivey was honored as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Special Agent of the Year (1996) and was also recognized by the Commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for his Outstanding Contributions to Criminal Justice. In August of 2011 Sheriff Ivey was honored by the National Organization of Victims Advocacy for his work at the national level as an advocate of victim’s rights and protection.
Sheriff Ivey speaks regularly on topics such as Identity Theft, Crime in America, Human Trafficking, Domestic Violence, and Self Defense through Mental Preparedness. Sheriff Ivey firmly believes that Crime Prevention and Education are vital to reduce our crime rate and protect our community.