City Council and Mayor Joe Gibbons honored the City's telecommunicators last month with a proclamation naming April 10 to 16, 2022, as "National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week" in the City of Lenoir.
Mayor Joe Gibbons read and presented the proclamation to Police Chief Brent Phelps during the City Council meeting held Tuesday, April 19, 2022. Read the full proclamation below.
The City of Lenoir Police Department generally employees eight full-time and six part-time telecommunicators. That's 14 people who answer, help, and direct around 40,000 calls and other requests each year. In 2019, City telecommunicators answered 44,773 calls. In 2020, that number was 40,548, and in 2021, the total was 39,819.
"Telecommunicators play a vital role in the services Police departments provide," Police Chief Brent Phelps said. "They take the calls from often scared and stressed residents, figure out what's going on, and direct our officers or other emergency services staff to the scene. It's a stressful job, and they often go unnoticed."
The Lenoir Police Department's current full-time telecommunicators are Communications Director Dustin Eller, Kenny LaCourse, Molly Ford, Stephanie Dula, Bethany Clark, Rhonda Hollowell, CJ Swanson, and Avery Hollingsworth. Current part-time telecommunicators are Becky Price, Shelly Hartley, Andrea Trivette, Alena Greer, Davis Walker, and Kim Donovan.
The department also recognizes Jackie Kerley, a 23 year veteran, who is currently transitioning into the position of Property & Evidence Technician, having served five years as Communications Director and 12 additional years in Communications as Telecommunicator and Supervisor. Additional employees who have previously served or are still called upon to assist when needed include Brooklyn Coffey, Danielle Gainey, and Chris Bumgarner.
Chief Phelps said National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week is one way to recognize those staff and thank them for the service.
"This is a way for me and our command staff to say 'thank you' to our telecommunicators," Chief Phelps said. "So, thank you for everything you do. We know how valuable your position is to our department and we appreciate your service to the department and community."
PROCLAMATION In Recognition of Public Safety Telecommunicators Week - April 10 -16, 2022
Whereas, the Lenoir Police Department Telecommunicators play a vital role in the protection of human life and property in our community; and
Whereas, the Lenoir Police Department Telecommunicators have been successfully serving the public safety communication needs of the City of Lenoir throughout the year; and
Whereas, while enduring long hours, abnormal schedules, and handling frequent life and death emergencies, Telecommunicators set high standards in performing their duties in a dedicated, diligent, and compassionate manner; and
Whereas, Telecommunicators provide a critical communication link between the residents and Emergency Responders; and
Whereas, these individuals efficiently coordinate emergency services to ensure the health and safety of our residents, visitors, and travelers in our community, 24-hours a day, seven days a week; and
Whereas, our Public Safety Communications personnel serve the public daily in countless ways without due recognition by the beneficiaries oJ their services;
Therefore Be It Resolved, that I, Joseph L. Gibbons, Mayor of the City of Lenoir, and on behalf of the Lenoir City Council, do hereby proclaim and declare the week of April 10 -April 16, 2022 "National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week" in the City of Lenoir, in honor of the men and women whose diligence and professionalism keep our city and first responders safe.
Joseph L. Gibbons, Mayor
Communications Director Dustin Eller, right, and Rhonda Hollowell stand beside a telecommunicator station in the Lenoir Police Department headquarters on West Avenue in Downtown Lenoir.