Who’s your hero?

If you’ve ever had to dial 9-1-1 you know how long those seconds, minutes feel while you’re waiting for help to arrive. The feeling is indescribable. Time stops. And the only lifeline you have is the voice on the other end of the phone.

Still, for the importance of what they do, those who make 9-1-1 possible are seldom recognized.

That’s why NICE introduced the PSAPs’ Finest awards in 2006. Each year, winners are selected in four PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point) categories: Director, Line Supervisor, Technician, and Telecommunicator of the year.

Over the five years the program has been in existence, literally hundreds of nominations have been received and more than two dozen individuals have been recognized. The winners are chosen by a panel of judges who review the nominations, evaluating each candidate based on his or her exemplary achievements, knowledge, and years of service to Public Safety. The process culminates in an awards ceremony in NICE’s booth at the national APCO conference where the winners are announced.

This year’s PSAPs’ Finest judging panel includes representatives from a cross-section of the Public Safety industry: Captain Lisa M. Baker (Metro Nashville Emergency Communications Center), Alex Harris (Information Technology Officer, Riverside County Sheriff's Department, Riverside, California), Shirlene Skipper, (911 Communications Director, Sumter County, South Carolina), and Barry Ritter, (Executive Director of the Indiana Wireless E9-1-1 Board and former PSAPs’ Finest Director of the Year).

Who’s your 9-1-1 hero? I invite you to nominate that person for a PSAPs’ Finest awards online at http://www.nice.com/PSAP/2011/.

Need inspiration? Visit the NICE Security Resource Center and read about the 2010 PSAPs’ Finest award winners.

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