NICE PSAPs’ Finest Awards: Recognizing the Hard Work that goes on behind the Scenes in Emergency Communications

The work they do makes a huge difference in peoples’ lives every day, but it often goes unrecognized. I’m talking about the people who work ‘behind the scenes’ in emergency communications centers.

“Generally speaking, 9-1-1 call takers, the managers, the trainers, and the technicians who make up the ‘behind the scenes’ of emergency response, are overlooked, seldom recognized, and often underappreciated,” explains Chris Kearns M.Sc., Manager of the Public Safety Communications Center for the City of Lethbridge (Canada). “The PSAPs’ Finest Awards provide an opportunity to share some of the stories and garner a little attention for the people who work in this critical industry.”

Kearns was one of six volunteer judges for the industry-awards program last year. “It was an honor to be a judge in 2016 and review the multitude of truly engaging and deserving nominations.  It re-emphasized, for me personally, why I chose a career in 9-1-1,” he added.

The PSAPs’ Finest Awards is a recognition program for emergency communications professionals. Awards are presented annually to individuals chosen as the DirectorLine SupervisorTechnician, and Telecommunicator of the Year and to the PSAP of the Year. New for 2017, NICE is adding nomination categories for Trainer of the Year and Innovator of the Year.

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“As a leader in the public safety industry, NICE is proud to sponsor this award program for deserving emergency communications professionals,” said John Rennie, General Manager, Public Safety, NICE. “We are inspired every day by the vital work they perform to keep citizens and communities safe.”

“We’re especially excited this year to add an award for Innovator of the Year,” he added. “This award will go to a trailblazer, someone who embodies change, progress and new ideas, with the goal of advancing and improving emergency communications amidst an industry that’s undergoing dramatic transformation.”

Since its inception in 2006, the PSAPs’ Finest Awards program has recognized dozens of outstanding emergency communications professionals. Any individual from any PSAP can be nominated. Winners are selected by an independent panel of judges from the 9-1-1 community, who evaluate nominees based on their accomplishments, skills and service to community.

Steve Sharpe, Director of Emergency Communications for the Genesee County Sheriff's Office in Batavia, New York, was selected by the judging panel as the 2016 PSAPs’ Finest Director of the Year.

“It was an honor to be recognized by others inside the public safety community,” he said. “Often, our peoples’ hard work goes unnoticed, especially our frontline dispatchers.  The award provided us with an opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the accomplishments of our team, and shine some media attention on the dedication of our PSAP staff.”

Interested in nominating a deserving individual for this award? Nominations for the 2017 PSAPs’ Finest Awards are now open and can be submitted online on the PSAPs’ Finest website through June 1, 2017. Winners will be announced in August 2017.

I invite you to read more about last year’s PSAPs’ Finest winners by clicking on a link below:

Technician of the Year: Damon Farmer, Application Support Analyst, SNOPAC 911 (Everett, WA)

Director of the Year: Steve Sharpe, Director of Emergency Communications, Genesee County Sheriff's Office (Batavia, NY)

Telecommunicator of the Year: Nicole Lea, E911 Telecommunicator, Oneida County Sheriff Office (Rhinelander, WI)​

Line Supervisor of the Year: J.P. Sredzinski, Public Safety Dispatch Supervisor Stratford Public Safety Communications Center (Stratford, CT)

PSAP of the Year: Winnipeg Police Service, Division 36 (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada)

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