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South Simcoe Police Service honors its unsung heroes

It's National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, and the South Simcoe Police Service recognizes the work of its agents who take thousands of 911 calls every year.

When an emergency occurs in South Simcoe, Communications Supervisor Melissa Bond is often the first to hear it.

Emergency response communicators play a vital role in keeping the community and officers safe.

"A lot of the times when the officers are being dispatched to a call, we're running the address, we're checking on the residents there just to make sure that their response is completely safe and successful," says Bond.

Communicators are often the voice on the line for someone who may be dealing with the worst situation of their life.

"Although those two to three minutes you're on the phone with them can be hard, experiencing those emotions with them, helping them, in the end, is always rewarding and worth it," says Bond.

"Communicators, whether it be for police, fire, or paramedics, they are the front line to the front line, so we can't do our job without them," says Acting Staff Sgt. Leah Thomas.

Thomas believes that communicators are truly the unsung heroes of public safety.

"Their job is to speak to the call taker and to obtain crucial and important information that is responsible for keeping the officer and the community safe," says Thomas.

Most calls that come in are for genuine emergencies. However, Bond says there are often calls for 911 where there is no emergency.

"There's funny and unusual calls where for example, someone called 911 because their burger at a fast food restaurant came out cold. We had a call recently where we had to send officers to help 16 pigs cross the street," says Bond.

"Although those are funny, it is reminded that those are inappropriate uses of 911," she says.

There are 21 communicators at the South Simcoe Police Service.

"You also have to depend on your team that after a hard call, you have a team that's there to support you and offer you resources when you need it," says Bond.

Last year, South Simcoe Police communicators handled over 41,000 911 emergency and non-emergency calls for service to support both the Bradford and Innisfil areas.

National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week occurs annually during the second week of April.

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