Telecommunicators at Portland’s 9-1-1 center celebrated

It wasn’t an awards event or banquet, but folks who work in the 9-1-1 Center, located in outer East Portland, were recognized by their peers, albeit ‘remotely’ …

-1 Unlike in other years, this year’s Portland Bureau of Emergency Communications annual 911 Awards were not celebrated with pageantry, as at this celebration in 2019 – but these everyday heroes are worth celebrating, even if remotely.

By David F. Ashton

Although typically unseen, the operators who take calls at the Portland Bureau of Emergency Communications (BOEC) 9-1-1 Center – officially called “telecommunicators” – perform life-saving service all day and night, every day of the year.

Because of their service, East Portland News has been privileged to report every year on their “Telecommunicator of the Year” awards program. But alas, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic scuttled their in-person program for the last two years.

CLICK HERE to read about their 2019 awards ceremony.

Usually “National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week” is in April; but, we hadn’t heard about any awards being presented this year to deserving staffers – all of whom are selected by their peers.

But then, we received a welcome email from Portland Bureau of Emergency Management Public Information Officer Dan Douthit informing us, “Portland Bureau of Emergency Communications is announcing our annual 911 Award winners – but, we’re still not holding an in-person event, due to the pandemic.”

He kindly sent along the accolades and photo of each category’s winner, so that we can share them with you! The photos were provided by the awardees.

Telecommunicator of the Year – Sherrie Koss

This award recognizes a Telecommunicator who demonstrates the highest level of commitment to the profession through dedication to continuous improvement, initiative in professional development, care of customers, investment in the center team, promotion of the Telecommunicator Code of Ethics, leadership by example, and who – by act or deed – makes an exceptionally noteworthy contribution, thus positively impacting the Telecommunications Center in a significant way.

Supervisor of the Year – Josh Jacobson

This award recognizes the Line Supervisor whose efforts on behalf of the Dispatch Center demonstrate the highest level of commitment to its personnel and their excellence, professionalism, and success.

The individual will exemplify leadership, integrity, trustworthiness, dependability, and forward thinking; will coach and encourage the strengths and skills in each employee, to assist in achieving each dispatcher’s personal best; will demonstrate initiative and creativity in policies, procedures and/or new programs; will enhance or improve the operation and morale of the center; will promote the Telecommunicator Code of Ethics on a daily basis through example; and will build and maintain a positive rapport with co-workers and customers alike.

Coach of the Year – Mickie Capetillo

This award recognizes the Dispatch Coach whose contributions are instrumental in the excellence and success of those working within the Dispatch Center.

This individual or team will exemplify leadership, integrity, trustworthiness, and dependability; will promote the Telecommunicator Code of Ethics through study and example; will mentor new employees with the commitment to their success; will set a positive and forward thinking tone within the dispatch environment; will use new and creative approaches to the ever-changing dynamics of the dispatch profession; and will seek out learning opportunities for themselves and the personnel whose success they have been entrusted to achieve.

Outstanding Team Member – Megan

This award recognizes any person employed by a telecommunications center who, by act or deed, makes an extremely noteworthy contribution – thus positively impacting emergency telecommunications within the agency, region, or state in a significant way.

This award is meant to show appreciation to someone not at a dispatch console, but whose contributions to the team help with day to day operations.

Champ Award – Joseph Stegemeyer

Also called the “Hearts of 9-1-1 Award”, this honor recognizes an individual, team or Agency who, outside of the normal heroic duties of daily work life, goes “above and beyond the console” – and exemplifies the human spirit and generous, caring, compassionate hearts of our 9-1-1 community. As demonstrated through actions of selfless humanitarianism; devotion to others, through personal service; and giving of their time, efforts and talents – this individual, team, or Agency proves that “9-1-1 hearts” extend to service beyond the job, touching lives and providing support through contributions to their community.

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We’re already looking forward to 2022, when we hope once again to meet the BOEC 911 award-winners, but once again, in person!

© 2021 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™

 

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