By Dan Campana
Since its inception in 1981, National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week has recognized what some consider the behind-the-scenes heroes who connect people in emergencies to the assistance of first responders.
Last week, suburban police departments joined with their fire department colleagues to celebrate telecommunicators for their round-the-clock efforts. Some received awards, while other enjoyed kind gestures such as food, but all were shown signs of appreciation of the undeniable contribution they make to keep their communities safe.
The Illinois State Police alone employs 100 telecommunicators at its six call centers around the state.
“Our telecommunications professionals are some of the best in the country,” ISP Director Leo Schmitz said. “They play a vital role in the safety of our officers and work around the clock to ensure that emergency assistance is provided when requested. They hold one of the least visible, yet most critical jobs in public safety.”
Here’s a quick look back at some moments from last week’s recognition of telecommunicators.
Naperville awarded its 2018 Telecommunicator of the Year award to Margaret “Maggie” Kochurka, who has worked for the city for 20 years. Pictured are (from left) Emergency Communications Supervisor Stacey Edwards, Fire Chief Mark Puknaitis, Kochurka, and Police Chief Robert Marshall. The city has 26 telecommunicators and four supervisors. (City of Naperville photo)
The Barrington Police Department offered its thank you to Cencom E911 dispatchers, describing them as the “unseen helpers” who coordinate the response of police officers and firefighters. (Barrington Police Department photo)
Addison Consolidated Dispatch Center
In nearly six years, the Addison Consolidated Dispatch Center has grown from nine dispatchers handling calls for Addison and Bensenville to a center which has nearly 40 employees which cover police and fire calls in multiple DuPage County jurisdictions. (Addison Consolidated Dispatch Center photo)
DeKalb police dispatchers received praise from the city council in the form of a proclamation honoring the men and women “whose diligence and professionalism keep our City and citizens safe.” (DeKalb Police Department photo)
(Cover photo courtesy of the Illinois Sheriffs Association)