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April 21, 2005 1:00 pm

April 21, 2005
Gary Davidson
Public Information Officer

EMERGENCY DISPATCHERS HONORED BY COUNTY COUNCIL 

Among the most stressful and demanding careers, the work of public safety dispatchers was in the national spotlight last month with the heart-rending 911 call from a 5-year-old New Smyrna Beach girl who had just discovered her parents horribly brutalized. “It’s probably the hardest job in public service,” Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson told the County Council Thursday morning as he praised local dispatchers as among the best anywhere. “Without them, we could not function. It’s one great group of men and women that Volusia County is lucky to have.” 

Council members heartily agreed Thursday, as they took time out of their busy meeting schedule for an annual tradition of recognizing the top telecommunicators in the county. Telecommunicators are the public’s first point of contact during a problem or public safety crisis. They’re responsible for fielding emergency calls from citizens, obtaining critical information -- sometimes in life-or-death situations -- and then dispatching public safety officers to quickly respond to the call for help. “This is really a tough job,” added Volusia County Emergency Management Director Jim Ryan. “It represents the unseen portion of the team that our public sees on the street. Nevertheless, our public relies equally as much on the folks that are behind the scenes that are trying to coordinate this.” 

During Thursday’s ceremony, the County Council not only honored the dispatching profession, but congratulated six telecommunicators from around the county who were selected by their peers as the best in their agency during 2004. They are as follows: 

  • Christie D’Ercole  
    Emergency Communications Center
  • Randy Frantz
    Ponce Inlet Police Department
  • Robin Franz
    Volusia County Sheriff’s Office
  • Ron Huth
    Deltona Fire and Rescue Department
  • Becky Johnson
    Regional Public Safety Communications Center
  • Jessica Poertner
    Ormond Beach Police Department

“God bless each and every one of you. You do a tremendous job,” said Council member Dwight Lewis. Meanwhile, Council member Bill Long said he has a special kinship with police dispatchers ever since he became a dispatcher at age 17 with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office. “I know first-hand how difficult your job is,” said Long. “We really, really appreciate each and every one of you.

Volusia County Sheriff's Office

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

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