The employees of the Tooele County Dispatch Center were honored earlier this month at an award banquet for the Utah Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials.
Tooele County dispatchers won the Unit Citation Award, Incident of the Year and Technicians of the Year.
The Unit Citation Award was presented to Sgt. Cherell Cottino and dispatchers Jennifer Clough, Veneta Arvanitas and Gabrielle Wade, in collaboration with the Grantsville City and Tooele City police departments.
The recipients were nominated for their work on an attempted kidnapping case, in which the biological father of three children tried to take his children from their adoptive parents in Grantsville. Dispatchers worked with Tooele City and Grantsville City police officers to track down and arrest the suspect, who fled in a stolen vehicle to Tooele City limits after his unsuccessful kidnapping attempt.
For the Incident of the Year Award, Sgt. Heather Prescott and dispatchers Makayla Russell, Heather Maxfield, William Loakes, Valerie Shumway and Arvanitas were the recipients for their work on the Middle Canyon Fire in July.
Due to the size and scope of the fire, as well as the volume of radio traffic and citizen phone calls, Arvanitas, Loakes and Shumway were called into the dispatch center to assist. The dispatchers worked long hours through the initial evening, and continued to field citizen calls with visible smoke and fire for an additional week.
The Technician of the Year Award was presented to Lt. Regina Nelson, Sgt. Shannon Gowans, Prescott and dispatchers Janel Moulton, Lore Maloney, Heather Maxfield and Arvanitas. The award also recognized information technology professionals from Tooele County, Tooele County Emergency Management Staff, technicians from CenturyLink and Motorola, Voice Products support, All-Tech Electric & Telecomms and Utah Valley Special Service District dispatchers.
Due to technical difficulties, including three outages, and the necessary replacement critical equipment at the dispatch center, the 911 center was moved to its mobile command center in April. While the equipment was replaced, Utah Valley’s dispatch center routed emergency and non-emergency calls to Tooele County dispatchers in the mobile command center.
Nelson said Tooele County is a large law enforcement area that presents unique challenges. She applauded the work of dispatchers and said she was really proud of the Tooele County Dispatch staff.
“We have a good group of people here and we’re thrilled when they have the opportunity to be recognized for the great work they do,” Nelson said.