National Public Safety Week recognizes staff

National Public Safety Telecommunications Week

Kerong Kelly

Contributing Writer

The University will recognize National Public Safety Telecommunications Week from April 14 to April 20.

“To me, we’re the nameless, faceless voice on the other end of the phone.” Selena Mull, Manager of Communications and Security Technology at the University said. “People don’t really recognize us unless they’re in distress or have an emergency. I wanted to honor all of the dispatchers for their hard work throughout the year.”

The University’s Public Safety division provides emergency and daily services such as crime and fire prevention, educational outreach programs on sexual assault, event management and more. Through a collaborative effort, the 10 current telecommunications officers allow for and develop such programming and emergency assistance.

National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week first gained attention in 1981, when Patricia Anderson of the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office of California synthesized the idea of dedicating the second full week of April to the men and women who work as public safety telecommunicators. As a result, the Virginia and North Carolina chapters of the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) then appealed to Congress for an official proclamation. In June 1991, Representative Edward Markey from Massachusetts introduced H.J. Res. 284 also known as “National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week.”

Though the official name introduced in Congress in 1991 was “National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week,” other names such as “National Public-Safety Telecommunications Week” and “International Public Safety Telecommunicator’s Week” are also now used. At the time, an estimated 500,00 telecommunications specialists and 200,000 dispatchers were included in the national figures. Telecommunicators include 9-1-1 call takers, dispatchers, technicians that maintain radio and emergency phone systems, staff trainers and other additional staff who work to ensure emergency services.

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