Thursday, April 16, 2009

In praise of call-takers & dispatchers

I’d like to congratulate a few of our unsung heroes today. The call-takers and dispatchers in our 911 Call Center work behind the scenes every day to protect the public. It can be a thankless and stressful job, especially now when under-staffing is causing all of our call-takers and dispatchers to work mandatory over time.

But fortunately, the Mid-America Regional Council is taking the time to thank these men and women who are so integral to public safety agencies across the Kansas City metropolitan area with a Telecommunicators Appreciation Celebration tomorrow as part of National Public Safety Telecommunicator week. I’d particularly like to congratulate the winners from our department: Tayon Jackson, Dawn Deterding, Jane Hill and Carrie Brown.

Tayon Jackson won the Outstanding Individual Performance in a Critical Incident Award. On Jan. 7, 2009, a woman called 911 and said she had been out with a friend but was then drugged and raped. She didn’t know where she was. As the woman spoke, her speech became more slurred as she was slipping toward unconsciousness. Tayon persevered in asking her questions about what landmarks she could see around her and eventually figured out where she was. Tayon was able to get an ambulance and police to the victim to get her the help she needed.

Dawn Deterding, Jane Hill and Carrie Brown won the Outstanding Team Performance in a Critical Incident Award. These women helped coordinate the rescue of 17-year-old Jacob Fischer, who was trapped in his wrecked car for 32 hours and badly hurt before anyone found him. You can read more about that ordeal here.

I want to say a big thank you to these call-takers and dispatchers and all the others who handle Kansas City, Mo.’s approximately 900,000 calls to the 911 Center every year. Police work couldn’t happen without them.

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