Commissioners Praise 911 Dispatchers Who Are “Unseen” During Emergencies

Shown are Emergency Management Agency Director Joe Bigar and 911 Coordinator Jeremy Ruffner with Clearfield County Commissioners Tony Scotto, John A. Sobel and Mark B. McCracken. (Photo by Jessica Shirey)

CLEARFIELD – Clearfield County’s 911 dispatchers work around the clock taking emergency calls for help from their fellow citizens.

When dispatchers answer “the call,” they apply their training and experience to evaluate the circumstances and determine how to best respond.

On Tuesday, the county commissioners approved a proclamation to recognize dispatchers’ service as part of National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week.

The proclamation stated that dispatchers are the “unseen men and women” who are the “critical first contact” for those in need of help from law enforcement, firefighters and emergency medical services.

“This is their job 365 days a year and 24 hours a day,” said Commissioner Mark B. McCracken. “They really are the unseen people getting the calls for help … it’s important to recognize the key role a dispatcher plays.”

911 Coordinator Jeremy Ruffner commended the staff of the county’s Emergency Management Agency from Director Joe Bigar all the way down to the part-time dispatchers. “We really have a well-oiled machine,” he said.

Commissioner John A. Sobel shared a part of a tribute to dispatchers he found online. It was written by Tom Wagoner, Loveland police chief, on April 14, 1995. Wagoner wrote:

“Dispatchers are expected to have the compassion of Mother Teresa; the wisdom of Solomon; the interviewing skills of Oprah Winfrey; the gentleness of Florence Nightingale; the patience of Job; the voice of Barbara Streisand; the knowledge of Einstein; the answers of Ann Landers; the people skills of Sheriff Andy Taylor; the humor of David Letterman; the investigative skills of Sgt. Joe Friday; the looks of Melanie Griffith or Don Johnson; the faith of Billy Graham; the energy of Charro; and the endurance of the Eveready Bunny.”

“It really does take a special person to be a 911 dispatcher,” Sobel said.

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