Police Dispatchers Honored
The University’s Police Department honored its staff dispatchers during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week (April 13 through 19) at the 18th Annual Organization for Public Safety Telecommunicators (OPST) Dispatcher Appreciation Awards. The event was held on April 12 at the California Automobile Museum. This year’s theme was the 50s, and proceeds went to Sacramento Police Activities League (SAC PAL) and Sacramento Community Cares.
Sac State Police Chief Mark Iwasa spoke at the event, applauding the critical role of dispatchers as the first point of contact with the public, often in emergency situations where time is vital. He recognized dispatchers for their skill and dedication in gathering, evaluating and deploying crucial information to the field.
The OPST is comprised of 17 local agencies from the counties of Sacramento, Yolo, El Dorado, and Placer. The annual banquet is the only event in the four counties that specifically recognizes the exceptional performances of 9-1-1 dispatchers and call takers.
Telecommunicators Week began as a grass-roots effort at the Contra Costa California Sheriff’s Office in 1981, and was later adopted by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO), who lobbied congress for official designation. The annual process introduced as H.J. Resolution 284 was officially recognized as permanent and designated by Congress ten years later in 1991 as the second full week in April each year.
The Congressional resolution also stated there were more than "500,000 telecommunications specialists," although other estimates put the number of dispatchers at just over 200,000. The Congressional figure may include support personnel and perhaps even those in the commercial sector of public safety communications.
Special thanks to Sac State dispatchers for making a difference through their hard work and commitment every day of the year.