They’re the people who take oftentimes scary and frantic calls from people experiencing serious conditions, sometimes life-threatening, and they have to do it as calmly as possible to line up the help that people need quickly and effectively. It’s a tough job, and Thursday, two of the people who do it regularly were honored by the Berrien County Board of Commissioners.
At the Berrien County Board meeting on the morning of October 22nd, 2020, two 911 Telecommunicators were honored for their service. Annually 911 operators from the County Emergency Communication Centers are invited to nominate their peers for consideration for the designation of 911 Telecommunicator of the Year. Those anonymous nominations are considered by representatives from the County’s 911 Advisory Committee.
The award is usually presented during National 911 Telecommunicators’ Week, which is annually recognized in April. Although delayed due to the pandemic, the recognition is no less deserved.
The award for Telecommunicator of the Year was presented to Berrien County Dispatcher Melissa Hensley for her ability to think outside the box, follow protocol, and multi-task. Melissa’s handling of a rollover accident last December was highlighted, which landed the vehicle in a ditch, trapping the caller inside the overturned truck. She was able to keep the caller calm, and work with her partners to get responders and a tow truck dispatched quickly, as water was entering the truck.
Also recognized was nominee Berrien County Supervisor Sarah Blurton for her leadership and training efforts within the Dispatch Center, and her active role in improving operations.
Berrien County Public-Safety Communication Center Director Caitlin Sampsell says, “I could not be more proud of the dedication and hard work that our 911 telecommunicators exhibit on a daily basis,” and adds, “Celebrating them as individuals and their team effort is always one of the highlights of my year.”
If you think you have what it takes to provide 911 public-safety services to your community, Berrien County Public-Safety Communication Center encourages you to seek out opportunities and apply.
Meanwhile, the county has prepared a tip sheet for when you call 9-1-1, and you can see that by click this link: Tips-For-Calling-9-1-1
Shown in the photo accompanying this story on Moody on the Market is 911 Telecommunicator of the Year Award honoree Melissa Hensley.