As the nominations for this year’s PSAPs’ Finest awards come to a close –
(just 7 days left and counting down) – I’d like to remind everyone to take a few minutes to
submit your entries! What better way to recognize the top performers in your PSAP.
To help you get you inspired to
submit your own nominations, here’s a look back at our 2011 winners:
First, our 2011 PSAPs’ Finest Director of the Year – John Mills. John is Communications Operations Manager for the Santa Clara Police Department. In October of 2010, the department opened up a new state-of-the art Communications Center. John was the key point of contact for this successful transition to a brand new facility. Without his expertise, the move would not have been possible. The Santa Clara Police Department dispatch center fields over 184,000 calls per year and dispatches over 82,000 Police, Fire, and EMS incidents. In addition to managing the technical aspect of the center, John provides guidance to three Senior Supervisors, three Lead Supervisors, and is responsible for nineteen dispatch employees. He is called upon to provide evidence to the District Attorney’s Office, testify in court, and respond to complaints from the public as well as inquiries from Public Safety supervisors. According to Dan Winters, a Police Lieutenant who nominated John for this award, John’s dedication to his job, passion for his work, and work ethic set a standard for others to emulate. His nine hour days often stretch to ten or twelve hours. He also somehow managed to balance the needs of the department with the care of his ailing grandfather, a World War II veteran and amazing hero in his own right. One needs look no further than John to find an employee who epitomizes the core values of the Santa Clara Police Department.
Robert W. Jeffrey Jr. from the Orange County Sheriff's Office received the award for 2011 PSAPs’ Finest Technician of the Year. Robert began his career at the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in 1993. As Communications Systems Supervisor, his responsibilities are wide ranging, impacting just about any and every facet of technology that keeps the center running – from CAD to phone systems to MIS systems and beyond. In addition to his technical duties he serves on the Communication Interview Board, as well as the Transfer Review Boards for the agency. He supplements staffing when needed and also teaches a number of classes. In 2007 he worked with APCO to pass Certification legislation for Telecommunicators. According to Assistant Director of Emergency Communications Amy Campbell, who nominated him for this award, “Robert is always the first one called when there’s a problem because he’s always available to help – whether he’s on duty or not.” As the ‘technical’ go-to guy, Robert is never in the lime light, but Amy says, his job is no less important. Without his daily assistance and support, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office would not run as smoothly and efficiently as it does. The pride he takes in his work is evident in everything he does.
In the PSAPs’ Finest Line Supervisor of the Year category, the judges chose Allyna Bay, Communications Shift Supervisor for the Gilbert Police Department in Arizona. When it came to devising ways to train the Department’s 35+ employees with little to no training budget, Allyna stepped up to the plate, devising an Active Shooter course from the ground up. How’d she do it? She attended an active shooter class, joined TOU on an active shooter exercise at a local high school, and did her own grassroots research. She then put together a 4 hour training course for communications personnel, saving her Department an estimated $6,800. Word traveled fast and other agencies expressed interest in attending the class too – so Allyna offered the course twice
at no charge to other agencies in Arizona. Another project that Allyna championed is the ‘Special Interest Citizens Program.’ This voluntary program captures vital information about individuals in the community who may be unable to communicate with first responders in an emergency situation. This includes individuals who are hearing impaired, have medical complications, are developmentally disabled, or have Alzheimer’s or autism. The information helps first responders provide the best possible service to
all citizens. Allyna’s dedication to her work team is also unquestionable. She adjusted her own work schedule to work longer shifts to ensure there was supervisory coverage while another supervisor was out on extended leave. Janet Laird, Gilbert PD’s Communicators Administrator summed it up this way: “Allyna is one of those employees who sees a need and works toward meeting that need, whether it involves a citizen, officer, co-worker or her employees.”
Christopher Scott, a Telecommunicator with Thurston 911 Communications, was recognized by the PSAPs’ Finest judges as the 2011 Telecommunicator of the Year. Chris answered a call from a distraught mother whose infant was choking and not exchanging air correctly. He used his training to immediately verify the address to allow the responding units to be dispatched. He walked the caller through ‘back blows’ (the infant equivalent to the Heimlich maneuver) to attempt to get the obstruction dislodged. After numerous back blows a piece of plastic was expelled and the baby started breathing again.
Chris’s handling of the high pressure incident was picture perfect. He didn’t miss a beat. But the extraordinary twist to this call came when it was revealed that the caller was none other than his own wife, Janna, and the baby was his own 6 month old infant, Jakob. Talk about calmness and professionalism under extreme pressure!
These outstanding individuals are just some of the dozens of PSAPs’ Finest award-recipients we’ve been able to recognize since the program’s inception. Their stories are all unique, but they have one thing in common: they all exemplify the day-in-day-out hard work and dedication involved in public safety emergency communications.
So who are
your ‘PSAP’s finest? We invite you to
submit your nominations here!