Honoring Telecommunication Heroes

Unlike Miss. America, when a public safety operator gets a title, such as Telecommunicator of the Year, they do not go on a public speaking circuit making appearances all over the globe. Instead, they quietly accept their awards and go back to work.


NICE PSAPs’ Finest Winner

Awards honoring achievement do not only come from public safety communications agencies such as APCO and NENA. Exceptional operators also get recognized by companies that manufacture public safety equipment and products, such as NICE Systems. A leading provider of software solutions that enable organizations to take the next best action in order to improve customer experience and business results, ensure compliance, fight financial crime, and safeguard people and assets, NICE gives out four awards to exemplary individuals in the field of emergency 9-1-1 communications. And the 2013 PSAPs Finest Telecommunicator of the Year goes to….Cassandra Dudley-Whitfield.

Cassandra was already quite pleased that she had been nominated but when she found out she had won she was thrilled. “I was actually on vacation and for some reason I checked my email,” she says. “I told my husband and we were both pretty happy. It was even better since we were already on vacation.”

Heading to APCO

To receive her award, Cassandra, her trainer Nicole and a few other Phoenix Police colleagues headed to Anaheim for APCO 2013. “It was really neat,” Cassandra says of APCO. “That’s something I’d never been to. I didn’t realize how big the conference was. It’s amazing to see how many different agencies are in involved.” In a ceremony held at the NICE booth, Cassandra received her award.

Aftermath

In typical dispatcher modesty, Cassandra explained that although the awards were exciting (She also received an Arizona APCO-NENA award and a commendation from Phoenix’s Chief of Police), she stated of the call, “It all just fell into place. I’m sure the officers would have been able to find and arrest him eventually.” The awards haven’t changed how she does her job. “I try to do the best I can every day and we have a lot of really great technology that we use which helps a lot.” What she does hope is that the incident helped improve everyone’s ability to do their jobs. “The whole bureau got to hear the story and how it happened,” she states. “Maybe that helped other people to look further during a call. That’s the biggest key in solving that one that night is I used the technology we had and I was able to see that.” Without the cell tower information showing up, she wouldn’t have known that the suspect was trying to throw off the police by sending them to another location.

Also an 11 year yogi and certified instructor, Cassandra gives back to her department by teaching “Console Yoga” to new operators.  “It helps you stay focused and relaxed,” she says. Whatever she did, her exemplary actions on March 25, 2013 helped put another bad guy in jail and brought honor to the profession of public safety telecommunications. So today and every day even without fancy cocktail party appearances, I would like to say thank you Cassandra for a job well done. You’ve done our profession proud.

 

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