Newtown Emergency Communications Center

Submitted by Maureen Will

Personally I wish that we could buy lunch for ALL the communication centers around the country as we are each distinct and special in our own way, but if we don’t promote our own people, then who else will!

I’m fond of saying that “I love my staff – I don’t like them all the time – but I love them” and it’s the truth.  In the 10 years that I have been here, I have seen so many of them grow into fine young men and women, and they are young.  In these 10 years, I only 2 of my original staff members left, some have gone on to other larger centers, others to a career path that they found to be what they really wanted (does the term stepping stone come to mind) and that’s ok, because as Managers and Directors that is what we do – we grow our staff, always hoping that they will stay as this is a magnificent profession, but realize that the bright lights and shining stars (and toys) are a draw that we sometimes can’t compete with.

My staff is 9 strong, soon to be down one who is moving on to the other side of the headset into EMS.  They range from age 21 to 35 with varied interests and opinions.  Our call volume and center are small but when an event occurs it stretches the two Telecommunicators that I have staffing to the limit (I’m the .5 of the group when I’m here – not as fast but I can answer the phones and work the radio with the best of them).  In their down time it’s on line training and honing skills.

We dispatch FD/EMS/PD and Animal Control serving the 5th largest town in the state of Connecticut.  Our EMS and FD are all volunteer and we have five fire companies in our community and the PD is 45 strong.  We are housed in the same building as the PD but we are our own entity and we have just been told that we will move with the PD into a new facility in 2021!

This staff is resilient – strong and caring.  They always make sure that I’m on top of current events and training opportunities in our area and a couple are now becoming more involved within our Atlantic Chapter and International which makes me smile as they are my future of Telecommunications and our industry.  They are not afraid to question to or to let their voices be heard, but done respectfully (although I will admit my hair is just a little grayer but they know not to get me until I’ve at least had a sip of my coffee in the morning:)

So, why my staff you ask – well I do all I can to show my appreciation to them in small way, little gifts once in a blue moon – supplying snacks or even getting lunch for them when I can or when I go out, and at one point we were so lucky to have been surrounded with and by your love during a very difficult event here, so I think for me having staff get lunch for no other reason than a happy and joyful one seals it for me.  Again, I wish I could vote not just for my staff but for all of our people because we know what we do, and we all appreciate one another.  Lately our profession has been having a rough time with line of duty deaths – active shooters and weather events, so this event that is being offered to us is a joyful one – a way to celebrate US or the WE under the headsets.

So, regardless if you vote for my crew or not, know that I know you and your centers all deserve breakfast – dinner AND lunch!  I wish had had a team photo – I know that there will be a boat load of them posted but I have a crew that does NOT like to be photographed – I couldn’t even get them to do a Christmas card, but they are handsome and beautiful to me and I would be lost without them because they make me a better Director.

Thank you for reading and good luck to all of us!!