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April 1, 2004 12:00 pm

Gary Davidson
Public Information Officer

EMERGENCY DISPATCHERS HONORED BY COUNTY COUNCIL

A stressful and demanding occupation, many consider dispatchers to be among the most under-appreciated workers in the public safety profession. But that wasn’t the case on Thursday, when the Volusia County Council along with Sheriff Ben Johnson expressed their admiration and appreciation for public safety telecommunicators throughout the county. “As far as I’m concerned, that’s the hardest job in public safety – and often the most overlooked,” Johnson said Thursday during an annual ceremony honoring Volusia’s top public safety telecommunicators. “It’s almost thankless, yet we couldn’t do without them. …They do a great job.” 

Sheriff Johnson’s remarks came Thursday morning during a ceremony in which the County Council proclaimed that April 11-17 be recognized as Telecommunicators Week in Volusia County. “God bless each and every one of you for the work that you do,” County Council Chair Dwight Lewis told the telecommunicators who were gathered in the Council chambers in DeLand. “It’s a very high-energy, high-stress job. It takes a special person to do the things that these people do.”

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. Council member Bill Long said he has a special appreciation for telecommunicators after having briefly worked the job many years ago as a teenager with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office. “The people out in the public really appreciate the fact that you’re there,” said Long.

During the annual ceremony, the County Council traditionally honors the top telecommunicators from each dispatch facility in the county. But Thursday’s recognition had two new twists. First, instead of selecting one telecommunicator of the year from the Sheriff’s Office, the agency decided to nominate its entire crew of telecommunicators because of all of the changes and expansion and added workload that the employees have taken on during the past year. And second, the county is now dispatching fire and ambulance calls after taking over the job from EVAC ambulance. “I also am very proud to be associated with all of these people,” said Terry Moore, the county’s Director of Public Protection.

In addition to the Sheriff’s Office’s entire telecommunicators staff, the County Council also honored the following telecommunicators who were selected as tops in their agencies: Christy Virginiak, Daytona Beach Police Department; Kelly Register, Daytona Beach Shores Department of Public Safety; Mark Townley, DeLand Police Department; Diane Davidson, Deltona Fire/Rescue; Patrick Harding, Emergency Communications Center; Apryl Rinehart, Ormond Beach Police Department; Linda Martin, Ponce Inlet Police Department; and Renee Hosh, Regional Public Safety Communication Center.

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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