The Icing on the Cake: 911 Professional with Storied Career among 2017 PSAPs’ Finest Winners

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We’ve heard it said of leaders, but it holds true for managers too. Great managers aren’t born with the qualities and skills they need to manage others. Those come from hard work and experience. Such is the case with Heather Barker, Communications Supervisor for the Orange County Sheriff’s Office (Winter Park, Florida). Barker was recently named 2017 PSAPs’ Finest Line Supervisor of the Year.

Barker’s storied career in public safety communications started over 30 years ago at the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Communications Center. During those 30 years she has worked virtually every position one can work in public safety communications – as a 9-1-1 Operator, a Teletype Operator, a Dispatcher, an Assistant Squad Leader (ASL), and most recently, as a Training Supervisor, and Supervisor. And more importantly, she has excelled at each and every one!

heather barker resized image.pngAccording to Orange County Sheriff’s Office Communications Manager Tonya Brewer, this is exactly the reason that Barker is such a great supervisor – because of her history and extensive work experience.

“Barker has excelled in each position. Working in 9-1-1, Teletype and Dispatch, she learned the positions quickly and was able to maintain the high volume of telephone and radio traffic with ease, while maintaining a professional and empathetic composure. Now as Supervisor, she sees the big picture,” says Brewer. “She has always been approachable to peers and subordinates, and has been an influential mentor as well, helping several employees meet their own career goals and move up within the communications center ranks. She takes every opportunity as a teaching or coaching moment.”

Brewer says that Barker also takes the time to meet one-on-one with her squad members to discuss how 9-1-1 calls can be handled better, and regularly takes the time to praise them when they handle calls well.

“Heather Barker is a true professional who has dedicated her career to public safety communications,” added Brewer. “I’m so glad to see her recognized.”

To learn more about the PSAPs’ Finest Awards visit

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