Recently, NICE announced the recipients of its 2017 PSAPs’ Finest Awards
, a recognition program for emergency communications professionals now in its 12th year. Sponsored by NICE, the PSAPs’ Finest awards recognize individual contributions to emergency communications. Awards are presented annually to winners selected in the following categories: Director
, Line Supervisor
and PSAP of the Year
This year, the judges bestowed the first-ever Innovator of the Year award to Anita Pitt, 9-1-1 Program Manager for the Brazos Valley Council of Governments (BVCOG). The Innovator of the Year award was created to recognize a trailblazer who embodies change, progress, and new ideas, with the goal of advancing and improving emergency communications. BVCOG was one of the early adopters of Text-to-911 and Pitt was instrumental in leading the effort. She is a strong advocate for Text-to-911 and shares her knowledge and experience by giving talks and training sessions to other public safety agencies.
Pitt spearheaded the deployment of Text-to-911 for the Brazos Valley Council of Governments’ (BVCOG’s) 9-1-1 centers. BVCOG has the distinction of being the first agency in the United States to complete a Text-to-911 call using Airbus DS Communications' VESTA® 9-1-1 integrated VESTA® SMS system which enables native handling of text and voice in a single application. The BVCOG (TX) Regional 9-1-1 program encompasses seven 9-1-1 centers in six counties: Washington County 9-1-1, Burleson County Sheriff's Office, Grimes County Sheriff's Office, Navasota Police Department, and the Leon County, Madison County and Robertson County Sheriff's Offices.
Citizens in the Brazos Valley Region are encouraged to use the Text-to-911 service to send a text message directly to 9-1-1 for assistance in the event it is not possible to make a voice call. Citizens have been able to use this service in many instances, both for hearing-impaired individuals and non-hearing impaired, in domestic violence cases and to report other crimes, for example. “I think the citizens demand and deserve it,” she said.
The area is also very rural and cell coverage can sometimes be spotty for voice calls, so Pitt says that there have also been instances where citizens have relied on Text-to-911 when it was not possible to call.
I invite you to
view this news coverage (video)
from KXXV-TV News Channel 25, highlighting Anita’s recent recognition and achievements.
To learn more about BVCOG’s Text-to-911 initiative you can also view this
where Anita Pitt talks about her agency’s Text-to-911 journey.