National Public Safety Telecommunicator Week is recognized during the second week of April which began Sunday, April 10th and will run through Saturday, April 16th. It is a week dedicated to thanking and honoring the men and women of our nation who wear the headset and provide an invaluable service as the First of the First Responders.
On any given day, a squad of dispatchers working one of four 12 hour shifts and made up from the 40 members of the Alexandria Department of Emergency Communications (DEC) efficiently answer a wide variety of calls for assistance. They dispatch all calls for help to the police and fire departments, facilitating the execution of emergency rescue and law enforcement operations in our jurisdiction 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In 2010, Alexandria dispatchers handled 367,238 emergency and non-emergency calls.
These public safety personnel serve as the vital link within our community, although rarely appreciated because they are not physically at the scene of the events they handle. Recently, eight members of DEC received a national award for their critical role and ability to quickly coordinate response to an extremely dangerous situation at City Hall in July 2010.
“I would like to extend my thanks to the men and women of the Alexandria Department of Emergency Communications for all their hard work and dedication to duty. Their role in the success of the mission of the Alexandria Police Department is critical,” said Chief of Police Earl L. Cook. “They are the true first responders,” added Cook.