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National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week (April 10-16) Honors Team Behind The Scene

Date of News Release: 04/02/2016

(Pikeville, KY) - Telecommunicators at Kentucky State Police Post 09 in Pikeville will be recognized along with more than 200,000 of their fellow communicators nationwide April 10-16 during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week.

These silent heroes of public safety are more than just a voice on the other end of the line. They often save lives on a daily basis.

"Kentucky State Police telecommunicators deal with stressful situations that involve life and death and are expected to handle these situations with compassion, empathy and professionalism. They must be their best while dealing with people who may be at their worst," says Capt. Darren Stapleton, commander of KSP Post 09 in Pikeville. "People don't usually call them for help when they are having a good day. They deal with people who have been victimized or need medical assistance. The callers may be threatening and belligerent, or in some cases, not able to communicate at all, other than dialing 911 with their last bit of strength, in an attempt to get help."

In addition to handling calls from the public, KSP telecommunicators also handle dispatch duties for Kentucky State Troopers, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officers, Kentucky Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Conservation Officers and other emergency service agencies. Their duties include dealing with highly emotional callers and interacting with other law enforcement and emergency service agencies, calling wrecker services, notifying channels of administration, running license plate and driver's license numbers, running criminal histories and notifying family members while continuing to answer new calls and handling other radio traffic.

"They act as a lifeline for officers in the field," says Capt. Stapleton. "We couldn't do our jobs without them. We depend on their skill and dedication every day so it is fitting that we take this time to recognize their value to the Kentucky State Police and to the citizens of the Commonwealth."

KSP employs 213 telecommunicators at its 16 posts throughout the state. In 2015, they handled 577,468 calls. Post 09 in Pikeville has 18 telecommunicators on staff who handle calls from a 5-county area. Last year, they responded to 52,103 calls.

The Post 09 telecommunications team includes: Melanie Taulbee, of Virgie; David Coleman, of Peter Creek; Brian White, of Harold; Christy Runyon, of Varney; Barbara West-Thompson, of Raccoon; Bruce Lucas, of Jenkins; Katie Akers, of Pikeville; Heather Ratliff, of Paintsville; Jennifer Justice, of Johns Creek; Craig Tackett, of Virgie; Felicia Coleman, of Pikeville; Eric Smith, of Zebulon; Johnny Meade, of Pikeville; Melissa Shouse, of Marrowbone; Suzanne Whicker, of Martin; Johnny S. Johnson, of Prestonsburg; Scott Hall, of Teaberry; Rebecca Randolph, of Mud Creek.

To watch a short video about KSP telecommunicators, click on or visit the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzGOaQDdXfw&feature=youtu.be or visit www.kentuckystatepolice.org

For more information or to apply for a telecommunication position with KSP, log on to the state personnel website at www.personnel.ky.gov

The Kentucky State Police (KSP) is a law enforcement agency that prides itself on attracting the best individuals. KSP affords equal employment opportunity to all individuals, regardless of race, creed, color, religion, gender or age. For a copy of the KSP Equal Employment Opportunity Plan, follow this link: http://www.kentuckystatepolice.org/pdf/EEOP_Short_Form.pdf

To arrange interviews and photo opportunities, contact:

Tpr. Steven Mounts
Post 09 Public Affairs Officer
Phone: (606) 433-7711