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911 dispatchers celebrated this week

LAPLACE — National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, observed April 11-17, recognizes the “first” first responders who are rarely seen but always heard. Day in and day out, 911 dispatchers serve as the first point of contact and become a lifeline in emergency situations.

The following St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office 911 dispatchers were recognized for their tireless work with a proclamation read aloud during Tuesday’s Parish Council meeting in LaPlace: Jessica Abbate, Kristen Vicknair, Kristen Dunn, Jody Duhe, Chelsey Bryson, Karanell Tassin, Monica Dottery, Ariel Ponder, Brittany Denet, Tenika Tassin, Mavis Kendrick, Christina Blank, Mia Gamez, Ida Matthews-White, Meghan Miller, Kayla Thibodeaux, Whitney Edwards and Laura Lacarbo.

St. John Parish Sheriff Mike Tregre said these dispatchers have gone above and beyond while working behind the scenes to assist first responders and ensure the safety of community members in need.

“911 is a place that I’ve never worked at St. John Sheriff’s Office. I have tremendous respect for them, and I’m proud of the job that they perform each and every day, all day, 365 days a year,” Tregre said. “They are the voices that keep all of us informed, whether it’s the Sheriff’s Office, the Parish or the State. They do a tremendous job. The acknowledgement is very deserving.”

911 dispatchers are also a crucial point of contact during recent severe weather events and traffic accidents.

According to Tregre, the dispatchers took safety very seriously during the COVID-19 pandemic. “They did everything to ensure that COVID did not spread in 911. They took care of themselves to make sure the parish was still up and operating, and I commend them for that. That’s not a place you can just put somebody and tell them to report to 911 tomorrow,” Tregre said.

Celebrated every year during the second week in April, National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week was started by Patricia Anderson of the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office in California in 1981. For more ideas on how to celebrate dispatchers, visit npstw.org.