NICE Shines Spotlight on 2014 PSAPs’ Finest at APCO

The PSAPs’ Finest Awards ceremony has become an annual tradition for NICE at the national APCO Conference, and as is the case every year, this year we had the honor of recognizing four outstanding individuals.  Here is a glimpse at our 2014 winners:

Technician of the Year Jason Sturgill. Jason is a Telecommunications Specialist with the Monterey County Information Technology Department in Salinas, California. Accepting the award on Jason’s behalf is Monterey County Emergency Communications Director William Harry. Jason Sturgill has worked for the Monterey County Information Technology Department since October 2006. During the last several years Jason has been the primary point of contact for providing technical support for the Communications Center’s 9-1-1 telephone systems. With its equipment aging the Center sought out a new 9-1-1 telephone system. Jason was instrumental in the procurement and installation the Center’s new 9-1-1 telephone system, working endless hours customizing and configuring the system to the unique needs of the 24 position 9-1-1 Center. Jason’s exceptional support does not go unnoticed. According to William Harry, Jason has shown an unprecedented level of dedication, trustworthiness and talent, often going above and beyond the scope of his job. For example, he took on the additional responsibility of training the ITD staff to insure the Center would have the best support possible. Jason has also taken the initiative to earn many technical certifications. His expertise is only surpassed by his pleasant and helpful attitude.

Line Supervisor of the Year Julee Todd, Dispatch Supervisor for the Sacramento Regional Fire/EMS Communications Center. Julee is no stranger to accolades, having received the Organization for Public Safety Telecommunicators’ Supervisor of the Year award twice during her tenure at the SRFECC. In addition to being a supervisor, Julee has had a long career as a dispatcher. During her 12-years at SRFECC, Julee has taken approximately 85,000 calls including 40,000 9-1-1 calls for service. Her EMD Protocol Compliance standards are a perfect 100% in Post-Dispatch Instructions and her Customer Service score a near perfect 99.98% Julee has served as a supervisor for SRFECC for the last 7 years. Her peers describe her as incredibly supportive, helpful and the epitome of a servant leader. The SRFECC has entrusted Julee with some very important projects. This year, Julee was the co-project manager for a complete dispatch floor reconfiguration. The ½ million dollar project featured a total dispatch floor redesign and was completed in record time – in less than 2 weeks. Currently, Julee is an active member of the SRFECC new CAD acquisition and build team. In that role she is responsible for review, analysis, communication, and development of the final operational CAD system for the dispatch supervisor team. When fully implemented, the multimillion dollar Computer Aided Dispatch system will serve 8 fire agencies.

Telecommunicator of the Year Christian Paquette, Communications Operator for the Ontario Provincial Police. Over the course of his employment as a Communications Operator, Chris has developed and demonstrated exceptional knowledge, skills and abilities. He has set a high bar high for performance excellence. As a coach/mentor/trainer, he enthusiastically shares best practices with trainees and co-workers. As a telecommunicator, Chris displays strong common sense, intuition and initiative. His work over the years has garnered numerous commendations from supervisors and frontline officers. In the past 5 years, Chris has received more than 35 letters of recognition and commendation for his excellent work.  For example, he was recognized for his handling of a call involving a motor vehicle collision on October 27, 2012. Because of Chris’s initiative and quick action, police were able to locate the impaired driver involved in the incident. Chris demonstrated the powerful life-saving impact that dispatchers can have in another incident that occurred on May 2, 2013. When the caller could not provide his location, Dispatcher Paquette quickly tracked it down using the caller’s cellular telephone information. When officers arrived on scene they discovered that the man had a grave self-inflicted wound to his arm and was bleeding profusely. Had it not been for Paquette’s quick actions, he would have likely succumbed to his injury. In addition to his excellent work ethic on the job, Chris supports his community through fundraising initiatives. He was the PCC’s organizer and lead person in the 2010, 2011 and 2012 fundraisers to fight against prostate cancer. His volunteer work not only raised funds and awareness for prostate cancer but also boosted morale in the workplace. His efforts in 2011 helped raise over $4000 for prostate cancer research. In 2013, PCCSF, CO2 Christian Paquette was nominated for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for his contributions to both public and police service excellence.

Director of the Year, Teresa Murray, Chief Executive Director for the Sacramento Regional Fire/EMS Communications Center. In her 30 years of service as a Dispatcher, Communications Supervisor, and Communications Center Manager, Teresa Murray has made numerous contributions to her community and to Public Safety communications. Ms. Murray began her career as a Police and Fire Dispatcher in Sacramento in 1985 and progressed through the ranks consistently. As the Chief Executive Director for SRFECC, she is currently overseeing the design and construction of a $23M 9-1-1 Communications Center for the City of Sacramento. Ms. Murray was hired in November of 2012 to lead a struggling SRFECC which had seen 12 managers in 10 years. She was definitely up to the challenge. Since that time, she has stabilized the workforce, hired a full staff, rebuilt the physical dispatch environment, and evolved the SRFECC workplace into one of respect, professionalism, and distinction. Her innovative thinking completely revitalized the organization. Hiring 34 employees to fill operating vacancies within 6 months, she fully staffed the organization using a new foundation of the four Core Values: Strength of Character, Selflessness, Day Forward vision, and Servant Leadership. All new employees are hired to these values and this new found professionalism has transformed the Center, which received 6 NAPCO awards 2013. Ms. Murray was also recognized as the NAPCO Communication Center Manager of the Year two years in a row. But her contributions extend even further. She has personally become involved in supporting non-profit causes, and encourages her staff to do so as well. The SRFECC has supported events such as the Safetyville Firefighter Chili Cook-off, Making Strides against Breast Cancer, and the American Cancer Society Relay for Life. At Christmas time, the SRFECC also serves as a collection center for the UC Davis Medical Center Firefighter’s Burn Unit, the Sacramento Food Bank, the Sacramento Children’s Receiving Home, and the Marines Toys for Tots programs. In 2013 she formalized this initiative by creating a non-profit arm of the SRFECC, entitled 911 For Humanity to provide assistance to members of the Sacramento community in their greatest time of need.

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