National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week runs this week, from April 11 to 17. This week honors thousands of men and women throughout the United States who answer emergency calls for assistance, dispatch emergency professionals and equipment and render life-saving, prearrival instructions to citizens who call 911.
"The employees of the Missouri State Highway Patrol are proud to join in recognizing the dedication of our patrol communications personnel as well as other public safety communications professionals throughout our state," states a release from Highway Patrol Superintendent Col. Eric T. Olson. "These professionals are to be commended for their tireless efforts to support field responders and provide critical services within the state of Missouri."
Public Safety telecommunicators in Missouri are resourceful and committed to public service and public safety, said Olson.
"They are living examples of our agency’s core values and an important part of the patrol’s tradition of excellence. I commend them for the work they do 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.”
Patrol communications employees are often the first contact for Missouri's residents and visitors who need routine or emergency services. In addition, these employees operate the patrol's radio communications network for troopers, commercial vehicle enforcement and specialist operations responding to emergencies. During natural disasters or other catastrophic events, these same communications personnel are part of the statewide communications network necessary for effective emergency operations.
“Public safety communications personnel are an integral part of every law enforcement agency,” said Olson. “Please join me in taking the time to say, ‘Thank you for your service,’ to Missouri’s law enforcement communicators.”
In addition to the highway patrol, local public safety agencies like the Clay County Sheriff's Office are also honoring local public safety telecommunicators.
"As we kick off National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, we want to thank the thousands of dispatchers who seemingly carry the weight of the world on their shoulders day in and day out," reads a social media post from the office. "We appreciate your service and dedication."
Sheriff Will Akin said dispatchers have a a special place in his heart.
"They are the voice of 911. We couldn’t do it without you," he wrote in a tweet earlier this week.