City of Ottumwa Recognizes National Public Safety Telecommunications Week


The Ottumwa Police and Fire Departments are celebrating this week as National Public Safety Telecommunications Week.

This is the time the country honors the thousands of men and women who answer emergency telephone calls, dispatch emergency professionals and equipment, and render life-saving assistance to people in need. Remember, when you call 911 from your home telephone in Ottumwa or from a cellular telephone within our area, the person answering your call is a trained telecommunicator professional who has successfully completed extensive training in order to be able to provide the best customer service and emergency response possible. 

Each year, the second full week of April is dedicated to the people who serve as public safety telecommunicators. It was first conceived by Patricia Anderson of the Contra Costa County (Calif.) Sheriff’s Office in 1981 and was observed only at that agency for three years. Members of the Virginia and North Carolina chapters of the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) became involved in the mid-1980s. By the early 1990s, the national APCO organization convinced Congress of the need for a formal proclamation. Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) introduced what became H.J. Res. 284 to create “National Public Safety Telecommunicator Week.” According to Congressional procedure, it was introduced twice more, in 1993 and 1994, and then became permanent without the need for yearly introduction.

The official name of the week when originally introduced in Congress in 1991 was “National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week.” Since then, it has become known by several other names, including “National Public-Safety Telecommunications Week” and “International Public Safety Telecommunicator’s Week”.

Current estimates put the number of dispatchers at just over 200,000.

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