February 15, 2018
Recognizing Heroism: The Annual 9-1-1 Honor Awards .
This week, we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first 9-1-1 call, and last night, I had the privilege to attend the NG 9-1-1 Institute’s 15th Annual 9-1-1 Awards, along with Senators Brian Schatz and Amy Klobuchar, Representatives Robert Aderholt and Frank Pallone, FCC Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel, Mike O’Rielly and Brendan Carr and hundreds of industry leaders, public safety professionals and guests.
Every year, the wireless industry delivers millions of 9-1-1 calls to PSAPs across the country. I am honored to have played a part in recognizing one of those call centers: the 9-1-1 Public Safety Communications Section of the Orange County, Florida Sheriff’s Office.
As the recipient of the 2018 Outstanding 9-1-1 Call Center Award, the agency was recognized for its overall excellence in serving Floridians and wireless consumers through its 9-1-1 technology and professionalism.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office is one of the busiest 9-1-1 centers in the southeast, and if you watched the news, you know that 2017 proved to be a challenging year.
The Office received 1.3 million calls last year, and their team managed communications during emergencies including Hurricane Irma and a mass shooting in Orlando.
We all know that the 2017 hurricane season was historic, but the Orange County Sheriff’s Office stepped up to the challenge. As Irma made landfall, they sprang into action with people and resources, including a new backup 9-1-1 center, and swiftly deployed teams to assist two of the hardest hit jurisdictions.
The Office is also embracing new wireless 9-1-1 technologies, including Text-to-911, which will provide a lifeline for people with disabilities and Floridians who can’t call for help.
Even more, the agency deployed a new call delivery system that resulted in an astounding 93% of 9-1-1 calls being answered within 10 seconds. In December, the Office’s 9-1-1 Public Safety Communications Section celebrated its 29th consecutive month of exceeding Florida’s 9-1-1 call standards. The agency credits this success to “positive attitudes and consistent and persistent efforts to do better in everything we do.”
In law school, I worked in a District Attorney’s office, and it was my responsibility to obtain recordings of various 9-1-1 calls to support our cases, primarily domestic abuse cases. Being a 9-1-1 call takers is one of the toughest jobs out there – to speak to people in the most vulnerable of situations, to offer calm and support during the most trying of times – it takes a special gift to do that well. Clearly Orange County’s Sheriff’s Office does it exceptionally well.
The wireless industry applauds the Orange County Sheriff’s Office’s 9-1-1 Public Safety Communications Section, and all of last night’s deserving honorees and public safety professionals across the nation for their heroic efforts to serve Americans during those critical times when 9-1-1 serves as a literal lifeline.