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9-1-1 week honors dispatchers

Posted by: tdt -

By Robin Scott


In 1991 Congress introduced National Public Safety Telecommunications Week. Each year, the second full week of April is dedicated to the men and women who serve as public safety telecommunicators, more commonly known as 9-1-1 dispatchers. Dallam and Hartley County residents got first hand proof that the telecommunicators in this area of the panhandle deserve a pat on the back when a blizzard struck the area during the last weekend of March.

This celebratory week is sponsored by the Association of Public-Safety Comminications Officials (APCO) International and is recognized annually. 9-1-1 week, as the dispatchers in Dalhart refer to the weeklong recognition, is meant to honor the thousands of men and women who respond to emergency calls, dispatch emergency professionals and equipment, and render life-saving assistance to citizens needing emergency assistance.

APCO is the world’s largest and oldest professional organization dedicated to the enhancement of public safety communications. APCO serves the professional needs of its 16,000 members worldwide by creating a platform for setting professional standards, addressing professional issues and providing education, products and services for people who manage, operate, maintain and supply the communications systems used by police, fire and emergency medical dispatch agencies throughout the world.

Recently, Hartley County Sheriff Franky Scott wrote a letter to the editor of the Dalhart Texan commending the excellence of dispatcher Evelyn Thomas who had kept her

composure during the shooting of a DPS Trooper in Hartley County. Sheriff Scott stated, "When it was all over Evelyn was emotionally exhausted. Still, she went to the emergency room, checking on the Trooper. Listening to Evelyn on the radio that day and later to the recordings of the incident, her stability was very commendable and thorough."

Last week a second letter to the editor sent by Sharon Petrisak of Corrales, New Mexico acknowledged the ingenuity of Diane Guffy who helped save a man’s life who was forced to stay with his snow bound truck caught up in the blizzard that struck Dalhart in late March.

Governor Rick Perry also acknowledges the invaluable service that public safety telecommunicators provide by stating, "Throughout Texas, The Commission on State Emergency Communications works with local and state governments to ensure reliable access to emergency telecommunications services. To highlight the invaluable role of public safety telecommunicators, the commission designates a week in April for an awareness campaign." He further commented, "I encourage all Texans to extend their appreciation to public safety telecommunicators. Their diligent efforts ensure that help is on the way when Texans most need it."

Of the dispatchers that work at the Dallam-Hartley County Jail, Max Bosley, Administrator, stated "I really appreciate our dispatchers. It’s a thankless job and I thank them every day. They all work very hard and they do a great job for us, and they don’t get the praise that they should. Most of the time they get calls from angry people who are just mad at the person who answers the phone. I am very happy when they receive the recognition that they deserve."

The Dalhart Texan joins the Dalhart Police Department, Dallam County Sheriff’s Office, Hartley County Sheriff’s Office, EMS, DPS and the Dalhart Fire Department in saying thank you for a job well done to Barbara Soto, Cindy Mayfield, Amber Garcia, Deena Parker, Michele Russell, Evelyn Thomas, and Josie Lysford. You are appreciated more than you know!