From the Livermore Police Department:
National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, celebrated on April 14, honors the first link in the chain of emergency police, fire and medical responses. If you’ve ever been the victim of a crime, involved in a collision, reported a fire or needed medical help, you’ve called 9-1-1 and were helped by a Telecommunicator. Agencies across the nation are thanking and honoring their 9-1-1 call-takers and dispatchers for dedicating their time and energy to serving their communities.
These public safety professionals are there for the American public when needed most. They answer 9-1-1 calls and ensure that callers receive professional and timely assistance and quickly get the help they need. At the Livermore Police Department they are known officially as Public Safety Dispatchers.
Telecommunicators Week began in California in 1981, and quickly grew to national recognition. In 1990, Congress designated the second full week of each April as a time to remember the critical role that dispatchers play in keeping us all safe.
The Livermore Police Department will honor their 18 Public Safety Dispatchers at the Alameda County Public Safety Dispatcher Banquet in Oakland, on April 20, 2013. This year’s recipient of the Dispatcher of the Year award is PSD Raquel Derting. Raquel has been a Public Safety Dispatcher with the Livermore Police Department for five years and previously with Union City Police
for 9 years. She was recognized by her peers for her professionalism, customer service skills and dispatching abilities. Raquel recalls her most prideful moment as a dispatcher when she handled a 9-1-1 call from a young girl reporting that her father just shot her aunt and uncle right in front of her.
“This was a very difficult call for both the girl and myself but in the end I felt
complete gratification knowing I was able to calm the young girl, gain her trust,
resulting in the successful apprehension of the suspect.” Raquel said.
The job of a Public Safety Dispatcher has evolved considerably over the last half-century. The early days where an officer or clerk might have simply answered the phone, relayed calls over a console radio, and kept a paper log have given way to a highly technical, multi-tasking environment that requires dispatchers to undergo extensive training and develop a strong skill set.
Dispatchers are expected to handle whatever calls for help come in, whenever they come in… whether it’s a major emergency or a minor problem. They do this while providing simultaneous radio exchanges with field units and tracking everything using multiple computer systems.