Public safety telecommunicators work long hours, around the clock on weekdays, weekends, and holidays while their role as first responders to an emergency often goes unrecognized. Public safety leaders and others have been working to bring an evolution of change beginning as far back as 1981.
It was then that Patricia Anderson of the Contra Costa County (Calif.) The Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office conceived the idea of recognizing public safety telecommunicators for a week and was instrumental in launching the celebration now known as “Public Safety Telecommunicator Week.” In the early 1990s, the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) convinced Congress of the need for a formal proclamation. In 1991, Representative Edward J. Markey (D. Mass.) introduced what became H.J. Res 284 to create “National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week.” According to congressional procedure, it was introduced twice more, in 1993 and again in 1994, and then became permanent, with no need for a yearly introduction.
Now, each year, the second week of April is set aside to recognize the unsung heroes who are our public safety telecommunicators. This week is nationally recognized as a time of recognition for the incredible men and women who answer our 9-1-1 calls, dispatch emergency responders, and provide support services to emergency public safety communications centers across the nation. This week, public safety agencies nationwide recognize the pivotal role played by telecommunicators.
During challenging and uncertain times like these, the services of these individuals are more important than ever. In Natchitoches Parish, these telecommunicators who are our 9-1-1 call takers, dispatchers, radio operators, radio and computer technicians, and supervisors, are employees of the Natchitoches Sheriff’s Office and the City of Natchitoches Police Department. We believe that they are truly our “First” first responders and the Natchitoches Parish Communications District and its Board of Commissioners, say a special “thank you” to these professionals for providing the residents and visitors of Natchitoches Parish with a gateway to public safety services.