NPSTW: The Golden Headset Awards Winners

National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week

Last week was National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week (NPSTW) and to celebrate Zetron wanted to honor those who have gone above and beyond in their duties, exhibited exceptional skills, dedication, and compassion on the job. This led to the creation of the first annual Golden Headset Awards. People in the industry were able to nominate themselves and their co-workers for a variety of categories including Best Telecommunicator/Dispatcher, Best Overall Emergency Communications Team and more. After highlighting some of these great stories throughout NPSTW, we wanted to share a roundup of the winners.

Thank you to these, and all the amazing telecommunicators out there.

The Golden Headset Award for Best Telecommunicator/Dispatcher Leader, Mentor or Trainer goes to…

Mary Schutts of Warren County Communications Center

“Mary has been with our center for a little over 17 years. She has trained countless PST’s over the years and everyone that she trained has been exceptional. Although Mary self admits she doesn’t like training, she does it for the trainee to ensure they are trained properly and competently as well as the center and our user agencies. When Mary is not training someone, she is training the center by creating crossword puzzles for not only other trainees but also veteran staff to learn from as new technology makes its way into the center. I personally have learned a lot from Mary through this method. Mary’s colorful personality helps other staff members during difficult times. She is always a welcomed member on the floor no matter what shift she works.”

Gary Hill, Public Safety Telecommunicator for Warren County Communications Center

The Golden Headset Award for Best Overall Telecommunicator/Dispatcher goes to…

Morgan Saunders of Linn County E-9-1-1 Central Dispatch

“I believe Morgan deserves this award because on June 27th, 2022, as a part time employee of another dispatch center, she took the FIRST 911 call of many, when an Amtrak train carrying 270 passengers and 12 crew members struck a dump truck and derailed in Mid-Missouri. It was Morgan’s first day on her own following her training period. She showed compassion, hard work, teamwork, and many other valuable skills that day as hundreds of field units responded to assist with the passengers. Even after something as traumatic as a Mass Casualty Incident, Morgan has continued to assist her community in dispatch. She does not like recognition for the amazing job she did that day and everyday, but she deserves it!”

Shelby Creed, 9-1-1 Director for Linn County E-9-1-1 Central Dispatch

The Golden Headset Award for Best Telecommunicator/Dispatcher Team Leader goes to…

Lt. Michelle Warren, Supervising Telecommunicator of Warren County Communications Center

“Lt. Michelle Warren has been with our center for over 20 years. As a higher-ranking supervisor, she was promoted into the records department of communications a few years ago. However, due the staffing crisis of the center, Michelle offered to go back onto the floor on the night shift to help with the shortage. She also has put in an amazing amount of overtime on the other shifts. When Lt. Warren walks into the room she is often welcomed as a ray of sunshine. Furthermore, she helps with our training program by putting together training binders and offering insight into the overall program. She is an uplifting individual that many look up to here at the center.”

Gary Hill, Public Safety Telecommunicator for Warren County Communications Center

We had an overwhelming amount of great nominations for this next category, so we’ve chosen two winners!

The Golden Headset Award for Best Overall Emergency Communications Team goes to…

Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office Communications Division

“During 2020 when Hurricane Laura hit our dispatchers were working and on the phones with callers needing rescuing during the height of the storm when the roof to the communications center blew off. The girls stayed at their post with water pouring on them. They had to be forced to hang up the phones an evacuate. Once evacuated we had set up a new dispatch center in under 15 minutes. Our parish took a major hit and most of the dispatchers lost their homes but stayed at work.

All the dispatchers ended getting Covid and worked sick because there was no one else that could do their jobs with our equipment and dispatch for our agency and the 16 others that came to help. for our agency and 16 others that came to help.
Everyone slept on air mattresses and used porta pottys for 5 weeks then we were finally able to go home. Only to be called back 3 days later to go back to the office for Hurricane Delta which hit 6 weeks after Hurricane Laura. We were still working out of a temporary dispatch center and again we were living at the office and sleeping on air mattresses for an extended time.

Eventually things started to settle and in November we got a temporary building that we moved our dispatch center into and worked in it for 2 years. While working in the temporary building we were hit with an Ice Storm (yes on the Louisiana coast!) and three months later we were hit with a storm that caused historic flooding and damaged the roof on the temporary dispatch center.

The temporary dispatch building had no plumbing, and you would have to leave to go to bathroom in all types of weather, but they all kept their spirits up. In April of 2022 we were able to move back into home, our newly rebuilt state of the art dispatch center and it’s been truly amazing.

These girls and guys have been through hell and back with hurricanes, extreme weather and Covid sickness, and truly deserve to be rewarded and recognized for all that they did. They gave up family for extended time while dealing with personal losses at the same time. They showed us what dedication means through their actions and willingness to help. They stepped up every occasion and gave they all even when they didn’t think they had anything left.

They are true heroes to our community and our office.”

Lacey Greaney, Communication Infrastructure Manager for Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office

The Golden Headset Award for Best Overall Emergency Communications Team goes to…

Jersey City Public Safety

The JCPS Dispatch team has been a fantastic group of professionals for many years. Throughout COVID, hiring Freezes, and the daily struggles of being an urban dispatch center –I have never seen such a group of dedicated individuals. In December of 2019 their skills were on display nationwide where the team fielded and coordinated a massive Law Enforcement Response for an Active Shooter, with hundreds of rounds fired at public safety. This several hour ordeal involved active pipe bombs and shooter(s) on a city street between two schools (less than 100 feet away), and an ambushed fallen Police Officer found at a secondary crime scene all while coordinating school lockdowns, and regular traffic.

I firmly believe that this team deserves some external recognition, just for morale’s sake after many years of being the silent underdog. Three members of the team passing during the pandemic, with the aforementioned hiring freeze, has stretched these professionals to the max –and they still come to work everyday.

Jersey City Public Safety Administration Member

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