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Bulloch 911 operators to be honored

            Bulloch County 911 operators, along with communications officers across the nation, will be recognized this week, which is National Public Safety Telecommunications Week. Each year this week is set aside to honor men and women who serve as public safety operators.

            The week of observation was introduced to Congress in 1991.

            In a 1994 tribute to dispatchers, Chief Thomas Wagoner of the Loveland, Colo. Police Department, wrote: Someone once asked me if I thought that answering telephones for a living was a profession. I said that I thought it was a calling."

            Wagoner called dispatchers the "unsung heroes" of public safety. " He said "Dispatchers connect the anxious conversations of terrified victims, angry informants, suicidal citizens and grouchy officers ... they are expected to gather information from highly agitated people who can't remember where they live, what their name is, or what they just saw. And then, they are to calmly provide all that information to the officers, firefighters, or paramedics without error ..."

            Bulloch County Central 911 employs 12 full-time dispatchers and one part-time dispatcher. The director is Kelly Barnard and Bulloch County Public Safety Director Ted Wynn oversees the department as well.

            Local public safety communications officers will be recognized during  Tuesday's Bulloch County Commission meeting at 8:30 a.m.

            Also, Bulloch Central 911 is in the process of moving into its new facility located adjacent to the Bulloch County Jail on U.S. 301 North. The move has already begin and dispatches and equipment will be moved within the next few weeks.

            Wagoner said " dispatchers play many roles: therapists, doctor, lawyer, teacher, weatherman, guidance counselor, psychologist, priest, secretary, supervisor, politician and reporter ... the emotional roller coaster rolls to a stop after an eight to 10 hour shift and they are expected to walk down to their car with steady feet and no queasiness in their stomach because they are dispatchers.

            "I have tried to do your job, and I have failed," he wrote. "It takes a special person with unique skills. I  admire you and I thank you for the thankless job you do. You are heroes and I am proud  to work with you."

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