Telecommunicators at Kentucky State Police Post 10 in Harlan will be recognized along with more than 200,000 of their fellow communicators nationwide April 10-16 during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week.
These silent heroes of public safety are more than just a voice on the other end of the line. They often save lives on a daily basis.
“Kentucky State Police telecommunicators deal with stressful situations that involve life and death and are expected to handle these situations with compassion, empathy and professionalism. They must be their best while dealing with people who may be at their worst,” says Capt. P.J. Burnett, commander of KSP Post 10 in Harlan. “People don’t usually call them for help when they are having a good day. They deal with people who have been victimized or need medical assistance. The callers may be threatening and belligerent, or in some cases, not able to communicate at all, other than dialing 911 with their last bit of strength, in an attempt to get help.”
In addition to handling calls from the public, KSP telecommunicators also handle dispatch duties for Kentucky state troopers, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement officers, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife conservation officers and other emergency service agencies. Their duties include dealing with highly emotional callers and interacting with other law enforcement and emergency service agencies, calling wrecker services, notifying channels of administration, running license plate and driver’s license numbers, running criminal histories and notifying family members while continuing to answer new calls and handling other radio traffic.
“They act as a lifeline for officers in the field,” says Burnett. “We couldn’t do our jobs without them. We depend on their skill and dedication every day so it is fitting that we take this time to recognize their value to the Kentucky State Police and to the citizens of the Commonwealth.”
KSP employs 213 telecommunicators at its 16 posts throughout the state. In 2015, they handled 577,468 calls. Post 10 in Harlan has 11 telecommunicators on staff who handle calls from a three-county area. Last year, they responded to 27,577 calls.
The Post 10 telecommunications team includes: Raymond Day, of Cranks, Hollace Wilson, of Harlan, Tommy Shepherd, of Harlan, Paul Mark Spurlock, of Harlan, Chuck Owens, of Smith, Lisa Middleton, of Evarts, Yolanda Young, of Pineville, Mary Asher-Pierce, of Harlan, Roy Harber, of Barbourville, Justin Farley, of Harlan, and Bucky Harris, of Middlesboro.
To watch a short video about KSP telecommunicators, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzGOaQDdXfw&feature=youtu.be or visit www.kentuckystatepolice .org.
For more information or to apply for a telecommunication position with KSP, log on to the state personnel website at www.personnel.ky.gov.