Public Information Officer
They are public safety’s unsung heroes. Their work is high-stress, done behind the scenes and largely out of the public’s view. Yet public safety telecommunicators are residents’ initial point-of-contact and that critical first link in quickly and efficiently dispatching responders to emergencies. And Thursday was a day for Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson and the Volusia County Council to honor telecommunicators for the life-saving service they provide to the public. The response to almost all law enforcement, fire and medical emergencies begins with a 911 call. And it’s that trained professional on the other end of the line who calms the caller, elicits crucial, sometimes life-or-death information for responding units and dispatches emergency crews to the scene. “They are our lifeline,” Sheriff Johnson said during a recognition ceremony in the County Council chambers in DeLand. “We’re real proud of each and every one of them for the job they do and what they do every day for the public.”
And County Council members heartily agreed. “It has to be the most intense job I think that I have ever seen. It really takes a special person,” said Council member Joie Alexander. “Thank you for what you do each and every day in trying to help all the citizens of the county.” Added Council member Joyce Cusack: “There’s nothing like being a servant, and you serve well. We’re so grateful to have you as part of our team.”
Thursday’s recognition marked the end of an annual, week-long observance of Telecommunicators Week, which is designed to show appreciation for public safety telecommunicators and the tough and demanding work they do each and every day on the job. While appreciative of the recognition, Debbie Smith, the Sheriff’s Office’s assistant communications commander, told the County Council that it’s all about public service. “We telecommunicators are very proud that we have chosen this profession as our way to serve the citizens of Volusia County,” said Smith.
Thursday’s ceremony also was an opportunity to recognize four telecommunicators from around the county who were selected by their peers as the best in their agencies during 2010. The four honorees and the agencies they represent were as follows:
Administrative offices: West Volusia 386-736-5961 Daytona Beach 386-254-4689 New Smyrna Beach 386-423-3352
Non-emergency dispatch numbers: DeLand 386-943-8276 Daytona Beach 386-239-8276 New Smyrna Beach 386-409-8276 Osteen 407-323-0151