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Celebration to honor 9-1-1 calltakers and dispatchers

mid-amrica regional council MARC logo19th Annual Telecommunicators Appreciation Celebration to recognize important role of emergency dispatch personnel.

The Kansas City Regional 9-1-1 System will honor 9-1-1 dispatchers and call-takers for the vital role they play in public safety at the 19th Annual Telecommunicators Appreciation Celebration on Friday, April 15, from 6 to 10 p.m., at the Ritz Charles in Overland Park, Kansas.

The Mid-America Regional Council hosts the event each April during National Public Safety Telecommunicators’ Week — a time to honor the often unsung heroes who are always there to answer and send help when someone calls 9-1-1.

Approximately 400 public safety personnel from 27 public safety agencies will attend this year’s celebration, where the following Outstanding Performance Awards will be presented:

  • Everyday Hero Award: Deputy Tivol Lewis, Johnson County Sheriff’s Office
  • Outstanding Individual Performance in a Critical Incident: Regina Shaw-Ellis, Leawood Police Department
  • Outstanding Team Performance in a Critical Incident: Kimberly Black, Nicole Campbell, Angela Cascone, Kari Dexter, Amy Ervin, Taylor Howard, Peggy Hulett, John Kemp, Moniquia Schweitzer, Sherrita Smith and Brittani Stanley, Kansas City, Missouri, Fire Department
  • Outstanding Training Performance: Ioana Ulberg, Independence Police Department
  • Outstanding PSAP Leader: James Brafford, Raytown Police Department
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Peggy Hulett, Kansas City, Missouri, Fire Department

Nearly 600 dispatchers at 42 public safety answering points operated by local governments in the Kansas City region answer a total of 4.1 million calls each year. These highly-trained professionals work long hours behind the scenes, often in stressful situations, as they help people through extremely difficult and potentially life changing circumstances. In addition to assisting callers, they dispatch appropriate emergency response teams to the scene, provide first-responders with vital background information and conduct follow-up checks on officers in the field.

The regional 9-1-1 system includes Cass, Clay, Jackson, Platte and Ray counties in Missouri and Johnson, Leavenworth, Miami and Wyandotte counties in Kansas. All 9-1-1 calls are handled by professionals who undergo extensive training in public safety communications. The Mid-America Regional Council provides administrative and coordination services for the regional 9-1-1 system.

2016 Outstanding Performance Award Overviews

Everyday Hero: Deputy Tivol Lewis of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office will be recognized for her consistently calm demeanor during high priority events and stressful situations, her always positive attitude, and her work teaching new deputies the essentials of dispatching. Fluent in three languages, she is often relied upon to quickly interpret and gather details from non-English speaking callers.

Outstanding Individual Performance in a Critical Incident: Regina Shaw-Ellis of the Leawood Police Department demonstrated quick thinking, knowledge and skill last October while handling a police chase that spanned two jurisdictions and resulted in a four-car accident that claimed the life of an off-duty police officer. The lone dispatcher on duty at the time, she dispatched and managed communications for 10 Leawood officers in multiple units and talkgroups.

Outstanding Team Performance in a Critical Incident: 11 members of the Kansas City, Missouri, Fire Department — Kimberly Black, Nicole Campbell, Angela Cascone, Kari Dexter, Amy Ervin, Taylor Howard, Peggy Hulett, John Kemp, Moniquia Schweitzer, Sherrita Smith and Brittani Stanley — will be recognized for extraordinary performance on the evening of October 12, 2015 when two firefighters lost their lives responding to an apartment building fire. Over a two-hour time period, the dispatch team coordinated 47 units responding to the scene, including seven aerial ladders, 13 ambulances, 10 chief officers, 10 pumpers, two rescues and five support staff, all while handling 9-1-1 calls for 28 other incidents.

Outstanding Training Performance: Ioana Ulberg began her career with the Independence Police Department on one of the worst days for the nation — September 11, 2001. Since that day, Ulberg has excelled in every aspect of her job. She will be recognized for her role as communications training officer, her consistent skills in training 9-1-1 dispatchers to perform their jobs in an exceptional manner, and her ability to create a strong rapport with her students.

Outstanding PSAP Leader: James Brafford, Raytown Police Department will be honored for leadership in both his agency and the community. He is dedicated to enhancing employee morale and able to adapt in difficult situations. He is a member of the Regional Public Safety Communications Board, the Regional Interoperable Communications Committee and Metropolitan Area Regional Radio System Management Council, and also serves as secretary of the Missouri Association of Public Safety Communications Officials and second vice president of the Missouri National Emergency Number Association.

Lifetime Achievement: Peggy Hulett of the Kansas City, Missouri, Fire Department, will receive this award for nearly 40 years of performing above and beyond the call of duty, providing quality service and displaying courage, foresight and perseverance in the highest tradition of public safety service. She has held multiple positions, including dispatch supervisor, communications training officer, member of the Governors 9-1-1 Oversight Committee, emergency medical technician, paramedic and local union president. Hulett has also worked many significant events during her career, including the Hyatt skywalk collapse in 1981.

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