Meet 2016 PSAPs’ Finest Telecommunicator of the Year: Nicole Lea

​​​​I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If you’ve ever had to dial 911 you know that those minutes while you’re waiting for help to arrive can be unbearable. Time stands still. And the only lifeline you have is the voice on the other end of the line.

Considering the critical work they do, you’d think that 911 telecommunicators would be recognized more often. But the sad truth is, they’re not.

This was the idea behind the PSAPs’ Finest Awards, to honor everyday heroes without whom 911 would not be possible. As the administrator of the PSAPs’ Finest Award program for NICE, it has been my distinct honor to recognize dozens of such individuals over the past 11 years, including this year’s PSAPs’ Finest Telecommunicator of the Year, N​​icole Lea, who works for the Oneida County (WI) Sheriff Office.

award-presentation-photo-nicole.jpgIn the summer of 2015, Nicole Lea took a 911 call from a mother whose infant who was not breathing. The mother, who was home alone with the infant, was borderline hysterical. But Nicole Lea remained calm and reassuring, first obtaining and confirming the address, then walking the frantic mother through step-by-step CPR instructions.

Thanks to Nicole’s reassuring voice and instructions, the mother was able to provide life-saving assistance to her infant, and remain calm until emergency personnel arrived.

We’ve all heard the saying ‘lightening never strikes twice’ – but don’t tell that to Nicole. In the fall of 2015, she took another 911 call from the same mother, in the same frightening situation. 

How many of us can take credit for saving a life, not once, but twice?

Nicole Lea can.

On both occasions, her voice never wavered. True to her nature, she remained steady, calm, and clear.

According to Scott Meier, a fellow E911 Telecommunicator with the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office, Nicole’s ability to control the call, her calming influence in the midst of panic and chaos, undoubtedly contributed to saving the life of this infant – not once but twice.

For that, and all of her day-to-day efforts in support of her community and 911, we’re honored to recognize Nicole Lea as the 2016 PSAPs’ Finest Telecommunicator of the Year.


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