The second week of April is known as the National Public Safety Telecommunications Week. This is a week dedicated to recognizing the work that public safety dispatchers and 9-1-1 call takers across the United States do every day.
The Town of Wellesley utilizes a combined Emergency Communications Center, or ECC, which is housed at the Wellesley Police Department. The ECC answers every 9-1-1 call that is made in Wellesley, as well as all of the calls to the police and fire department business lines, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There are two dispatchers on duty at all times in the ECC. In addition to the telephone calls coming into the ECC, dispatchers also are the first to greet any citizens that walk into the police station.
Once a call is received, the ECC will dispatch the appropriate units from the Police Department, Fire Department, and Emergency Medical Systems (ambulance). If the call is medical in nature, dispatchers will walk a caller through any pre-arrival medical treatments, such as CPR or stopping bleeding, before the ambulance arrives.
Dispatchers are also responsible for making many after-hours notifications to various town departments during emergency situations. Dispatchers log almost every aspect of a call for service as the situation evolves and is resolved. During larger incidents, dispatchers coordinate responses of additional equipment from neighboring cities and towns as well.
In a majority of emergency situations, Wellesley Dispatchers are the first point of contact for the public. They are a calm, professional, reassuring voice that lets a citizen know help is on the way. At the same time, behind the scenes, they are multi-tasking, logging the incident and sending the appropriate emergency response to the scene.
Across the country, there has been a nationwide staffing shortage in many areas of Public Safety, including 9-1-1 dispatchers. Wellesley has not been immune to this trend, and has seen some significant staffing shortages in the ECC in the last year. Staffing shortages means that our dispatchers often have to work many additional hours per week, while new dispatchers are hired and trained, which can be a long process.
We want to acknowledge and thank our veteran dispatchers for all the extra work and long hours they have endured over the past year. Wellesley is fortunate to have Dispatchers Rob Rowe (23 years of service), Therese Shurtleff (17 years of service), Sammi Jelfs (3 years pf service) and Amanda Cummings (1 year of service). We would also like to welcome our new dispatchers to the team, which are Jonathan DaRosa, Danilo Gerwatowski, and Deborah Tellini.
We also want to congratulate Dispatcher Matthew McLaughlin on his retirement earlier this year. Matt served for 13 years as a Wellesley Dispatcher. We wish Matt a happy and healthy retirement as he enters the next chapter.
Wellesley Dispatchers “Have the Watch” for our community, 24 hours a day, every day. They are the lifeline that Wellesley Police Officers, Firefighters, and Paramedics rely on every time they respond to a call.