Recognizing dispatchers during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week

Updated: Apr. 16, 2020 at 7:07 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -During this National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, Cuyahoga County’s 911 Coordinator, Nancy Kolcan, wants all dispatchers to know they’re valued.

“They truly are dedicated to their job and I love and thank them all for everything they do every day,” said Kolcan as she talks about the dispatchers at the county’s 22 primary centers.

Kolcan wants dispatchers to know they are not forgotten for their help on the front lines as they’re making sure everyone is safe. They are the ones who get the calls and react and respond appropriately.

“They worry about exposure for their own families, so it’s an added stress on top of the job that they already do,” said Kolcan.

Their jobs are even more of a challenge in the middle of a pandemic.

Kolcan said, "The questions have been evolving. At the beginning of this we were asking questions such as, “Have you traveled overseas or have you been to China?”

Now, to protect the callers and first responders, the dispatchers must go through the list of COVID-19 symptoms and more. “We also would ask if they’ve been in contact with the primary care physician, if they’ve been quarantined, if there’s been anyone in the family diagnosed.”

As for violent crime calls, she says those are of course being treated with the same urgency. “They are going to arrive on scene the way that they have to,” said Kolcan.

19 News asked Kolcan if violent crime calls have decreased since COVID-19?

“Crime overall and traffic stops and crashes have gone down, but I did see a statistic where domestic violence is up a bit,” said Kolcan.

Kolcan says they’re getting a lot of calls with questions related to COVID-19. She says all of these dispatchers are here to help and protect you, but it’s very important to only call 911 if it’s an emergency.

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