To the editor:
The second full week of April (April 14-20) is designated as National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. It is a time to recognize and thank all of those people who are involved in public safety communications and dispatch.
I have the distinct privilege of working with a group of these telecommunications professionals in Berkshire County who represent the Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) that handle the 911 calls throughout Berkshire County and I would like to offer my sincere thanks for all their dedication and good work. As with any public safety profession, 911 dispatchers sacrifice to do these jobs. There are weekends and holidays away from family, there is continuous training and there is the challenge of interacting with people during some of the most stressful and difficult times in their lives.
It takes a special person to do this job and do it well. The people who do these jobs every day do them because they are passionate about helping others. Each 911 call is unique; some are simple and easily resolved, some are more complex due to a crime being committed or talking someone through a medical crisis and in many cases, the dispatcher never knows the outcome of the call. What amazes me about this group of professionals is their resilience and their ability to be that calming presence to listen to those frantic calls for help and somehow make sense out very chaotic moments.
If you have never had to call 911, you are lucky. If you have, remember that the people who take these calls are there to help you. Twenty four hours a day all year long, they are there to make sure that when that 911 phone rings, someone is able to quickly answer and provide you with the help that you need.
So thank you to these dedicated professionals and their families that support them. I am not sure that they realize just how much they make a difference in their communities and in the lives of the people that depend on them. So please take a moment to thank these wonderful people and keep them in your thoughts and prayers as they continue to do work that is so important to all of us.
The writer is the lieutenant colonel assistant deputy superintendent at the Berkshire County Sheriff's Office.