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Bergen emergency dispatchers honored at special ceremony

Photo Credit: below
Photo Credit: below
Photo Credit: below
Photo Credit: below

SHOUT OUTS: “You don’t nearly get the credit you deserve, but you do make a difference every day,” Capt. Mark Lepinski, communications director of the Bergen County Public Safety Operations Center, told more than two dozen telecommunicators and radio technicians during a ceremony last night honoring their contributions.

The event was part of National Public Safety Telecommunications Week, a time dedicated for citizens to thank those public safety professionals and volunteers who dispatch emergency service responders in times of need and crisis.

These include 911 call-takers, dispatchers, technicians who maintain radio and emergency phone systems, communications staff trainers, communications center personnel, and other public safety telecommunications staff.

Special attention was paid to the job Bergen County’s dispatchers did during Hurricane Sandy.

“I am very proud of work performed [here] and the professional manner in which public safety telecommunicators handle themselves not only during Superstorm Sandy, but every day,” Brian Higgins, the Bergen County Police chief and county director of public safety said during the event at the Bergen County Public Safety Operations Center in Mahwah.

County Administrator Edward Trawinski and Jeanne Baratta, chief of staff for County Executive Kathleen Donovan, gave the public safety telecommunicators (PSTs) certificates for going “above and beyond” the call during the storm (top photo, below).

They also received duffle bags filled with donated items – a special touch from Lepinski.

“I truly recognized how some of our PSTs were affected not only by the calls they received but their own personal stories of their families struggling during the storm without them,” the captain said.

“For every name they enter, for every card they fill out, the hardworking PSTs of the Bergen County Communications Center save another life,” added Micah Hassinger, the IT director at the BCPSOC.

“They do this without any fanfare, without any spotlight, without even a ‘thank you’,” Hassinger said, adding that last night’s event was meant “to give that well-deserved thank you, well-deserved spotlight, well-deserved fanfare.”

Leonia Lt. Tom Rowe said he “spoke several of the PSTs and know that it meant a lot to them to be recognized for their dedication and hard work.

“As my career winds down and I look at everything I was able to accomplish, having our communications handled by the County will be at the top of the list,” Rowe added. “My officers are safer because of the the transition and the taxpayers of Leonia are saving considerable money every year.

“I hate to use the cliche, but this has been a win-win for the Borough of Leonia.”

The official mission of the Bergen County Communications Center is to “provide courteous, prompt and professional service to all those who call.  We are the vital link between the citizens of Bergen County and emergency services that they may require.  We provide these citizens and transients with an effective means by which to summons both emergency and non-emergency public safety assistance.  We must be able to gather and relay as much information available with the utmost precision, accuracy and speed.  This will ensure a safe environment for all Police, Fire, Rescue and Emergency Medical Services, which will enhance the quality of life for all of Bergen County.”

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