Have you hugged your dispatcher today?

Each day, the nine individuals who staff the phones for NIU Police and Public Safety answer hundreds of calls from the mundane requests for information to life-threatening situations. And they do it all in a calm and professional manner.

That is why, April 8-14, NIU Police & Public Safety is celebrating National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week.

“Given that dispatchers are rarely seen, people don’t often give a lot of thought to the job they do, however when people pick up the phone and dial 9-1-1 they know that someone will be there,” said Colleen Quigley-McAllister, who supervises telecommunications for NIU Police. “They work days, nights, holidays and weekends, missing out on birthdays, dinners and family gatherings – and sadly this can be a rather thankless job. The dispatchers at NIU do a fantastic job, so we wanted to make sure that we recognize the contributions they make by observing this week.”

Sponsored by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International, the week honors the thousands of men and women who respond to emergency calls, dispatch emergency professionals and equipment, and render lifesaving assistance to the citizens of the United States.

In times of intense personal crisis and community-wide disasters, the first access point for those seeking all classes of emergency services is 9-1-1. The local, county and university public safety communications centers that receive these calls have emerged as the first and single point of contact for persons seeking immediate relief during an emergency.

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