Commendations
2007-2009

October 3, 2009 – Lt. Plageman praises several dispatchers for their work in assisting patrol to apprehend an armed robbery suspect who was wanted in several counties for questioning.  David, Rosa and Michelle all spoke to the victim to calm and reassure her that help was on the way.  Jodi and Rosa were on the radio, anticipating requests from the field units and updating deputies as events unfolded.  The suspect was taken into custody.

September 16, 2009 – Neal Coonerty, Chairperson for the Board of Supervisors commended SCCECC General Manager Scotty Douglass for our agency’s efforts during the Lockheed, Summit, Martin and Trabing wildfires.  “In addition, the importance of your outstanding day-to-day 9-1-1 dispatching services cannot be understated”.

September 7, 2009 – Sheriff-Coroner Phil Wowak commended NetCom on our efforts during the Lockheed fire as well.  “The assistance we received from your fine staff had a significant impact on our successful mission to evacuate and secure the affected communities put at risk due to the fire.”

August 17, 2009 – WPD Officer McKinley commended Cheryl and Terri for their work in helping to identify a suspect in an ongoing case. Cheryl built a rapport with the suspect and talked to him at length, gathering details about the crime. Terri was able to remember the suspect description in a case from the prior two weeks that was very similar in nature. Both dispatchers forwarded their information to WPD who were able to make an arrest!

August 17, 2009 – Operations Supervisor Kevin Fink praises all the dispatchers for their hard work during the Lockheed fire.  This fire was the largest experienced by Santa Cruz County in 20 years. “Although we are starting to get really good at this, it still impresses me how the two teams can come together as one when it counts the most.”

August 11, 2009 – PSD III Terri praised her entire team for their outstanding team work that ultimately led to the apprehension of two suspects and the recovery of a firearm used in a crime.  Jim, Karen, David and Chuck all received high praise for coordinating the traffic for two different counties and agencies.

July 20, 2009 – Retired Capitola PD Captain Mayer praised Stephanie for her “calm demeanor, professionalism and quick action” when he called for help for a seriously injured, unconscious motorcycle rider who hit a vehicle near his house. Mayer went on to say Stephanie’s actions “made all the difference” to him during a difficult few minutes.

June 2, 2009 – Bruce Clark, Fire Chief for the Central Fire Protection District commended all dispatchers on duty when two second alarm structure fires broke out in his district along with a hazardous materials incident.  “During these emergencies, your staff was invaluable to the success of the outcomes of these incidents”, he wrote.

April 27, 2009 - Chief Tom Crosser of the Aptos/La Selva Fire Department commended an entire team of dispatchers for their work during a tragic structure fire in Rio Del Mar. On duty were: Cat M., Gina L., Angie L. Eric M., Mike F., Marsha A., Bill B., Melanie S., Karen C. and Stephanie Z.

April 17, 2009 - Stephanie Z. was commended for starting fire, ambulance and law enforcement in 14 seconds after answering a 9-1-1 call and hearing a woman screaming hysterically about someone who "had eaten a hotdog". Due to Stephanie's years of experience in both law enforcement and EMD training - she "just knew" that this was a medical emergency and help was needed ASAP. As Stephanie began giving the Heimlich maneuver instructions, the young victim fell to the ground unconscious and not breathing. Deputy Zamora was in the area when the call went out and arrived in time to successfully dislodge the blockage from the victim's throat and start her breathing again!

April 11, 2009 – Operations Supervisor Parker, commends the Blue team for their outstanding performance during a major phone interruption.  Vandals had cut major fiber optic lines in another county that affected the hard line and cell phone service to Santa Cruz and surrounding counties.  “I was extremely impressed how everyone was able to overcome all of the obstacles presented to you during this challenging day.  You remained calm and professional, and pulled all of your resources and training together to work through the issues at hand”.  This praise was echoed by  AMR Supervisor Jones and B.C. Lopez from Watsonville Fire. Those working that day were Stephanie, Marsha, Kristine, Ashley, Lyndsay, David, Sean, Amanda, Jodi, Megan, Jim, Rosa, Mike, Kristy, Eric, Cat and Gina.

March 31, 2009 - Anna K. was commended by her supervisor Kevin Fink for her efforts in keeping an intoxicated subject with a shotgun calm and preoccupied while law enforcement was responding to his location. While shots could be heard in the background, she remained focused on the scene and officer safety aspects of the call, before speaking with the suspect himself. Kevin felt Anna's empathetic tone in her voice and understanding comments kept the suspect pre-occupied long enough for law to establish a perimeter and ultimately, the safe surrender of the suspect.

March 21, 2009 - Ashley H. was praised for her work in assisting with the birth of a baby. Ashley was in her last few hours of EMD training, when she and her trainer received a call from a hysterical father who announced his child was in the process of being born! Ashley used the training she had in "repetitive persistence", keeping the new father calm until he handed the phone to a neighbor who had just arrived. Ashley told him how to wrap the newborn and tie the umbilical cord. Baby and mother are doing fine.

March 17, 2009 - Systems Manager Amethyst Uchida commended Sr. Systems Technician Wolff Bloss for saving one of our User agency several thousands of dollars in equipment replacement. Wolff discovered a damaged modem in a patrol vehicle and took it upon himself to repair and test it rather than simply buy a new one, as he would have been authorized to do.

Wolff was also commended for saving SCCECC eight thousand dollars by diagnosing and repairing a faulty valve on the back-up power supply to our agency, a problem several visits by the supplying company's technicians had failed to find.

March 4, 2009 - Melanie S. was commended by her supervisor Margaret for creating a fire and ambulance response detail regarding a boy who was not breathing in 18 seconds. Melanie then began giving CPR instructions to the caller. "I believe this child is alive today because of your quick thinking and SVPD arriving on the scene with an AED shortly after the call was dispatched", wrote Margaret.

February 27, 2009 - Dee K. was commended both in January and February for her "higher level" job performance and customer service skills. On January 11, Dee convinced an extremely reluctant, anonymous caller to provide her with essential information regarding an open case for the Sheriff's Department. On February 22, the Director of Operations for AMR praised Dee for her compassion and going "above and beyond" to assist a victim of a motor vehicle accident and his family.

January 15, 2009 - Kevin Fink was commended by General Manager Scotty Douglass for receiving his APCO certification in the Registry of Public Safety Leadership.

January 2, 2009 - Bill B. answered a call from a Boulder Creek resident who's girlfriend was 9 months pregnant and having contractions. As Bill spoke to the caller, the contractions went from a few minutes apart to a few seconds! Bill expertly led the caller through the Emergency Medical process and helped him deliver his baby daughter without incident.

December 6, 2008 - Dan H. was commended by B.C. Lucchesi of the Santa Cruz Fire Dept. for his exemplary performance handling several high priority/high risk details simultaneously including three structure fires and a multiple vehicle injury accident. During this time period, Dan also dispatched a high priority medical call every 10 minutes for 10 hours! Per B.C. Lucchesi - "He never missed a beat"!

November 26, 2008 - Kristy C. was commended by Interim General Manager Scotty Douglass for volunteering to adjust her usual part-time work schedule and work more hours. Kristy's "willingness to serve" saved our agency several hundreds of dollars.

October 31, 2008 - Rosa P. was commended by both her supervisor and the Watsonville Police Department for her assistance in the arrest of two suspects for burglary and prowling. Rosa noticed that a vehicle description from an earlier burglary matched the description of a vehicl involved in a burglary in progress call. Rosa gave the responding officers the license plate, and they were able to go to the area of the suspects house locate the vehicle and arrest them.

October 15, 2008 - Systems technician Nicola is praised by her supervisor Amethyst for going above and beyond the normal scope of her duties. The first instance was during two of Santa Cruz County's devastating wildland fires, when Nicola coordinated efforts between EOC personnel, Central Fire representatives, the Sheriff's Office and County GIS to create maps of areas with confusing, poorly marked streets to aid evacuation and firefighting efforts to personnel unfamiliar with the local.

Without being asked, Nicola stayed late and came in early assisting in activating the alternate site during a phone line malfunction; transferring the phone lines, coordinating repairs with AT&T, and docmenting the process for future reference

October 3, 2008 - Both Interim General Manager Scotty Douglass and Assistant District Attorney Jason Gill commend Operations Coordinator Lola Crain for being a "tremendous asset" to our agency and "exceptionally efficient, helpful and a pleasure to work with". Lola was also commended for "going above and beyond the call of duty" by Scotty.

September 16, 2008 - Administrative Supervisor Anita Miller commends the members of the Awareness and Community Education (ACE) team for their outstanding efforts in manning our booth at the Santa Cruz County Fair. Thanks to them, we contacted over 5 thousand parents and children regarding 9-1-1 and disaster preparedness. Kudos to: Abby, Ashley, Jo, Jodi, Kristy, Lisa, Lyndsay, Melanie, Mike, Rosa and Ricky!

September 5, 2008- Sgt. Carney of the SCSO commends Mike K. for his assistance in tracking down the owner of a nuisance house in a neighborhood that squatters had taken over. The neighbors thanked the Sheriffs Office who passed the praise along.

August 14, 2008 - Operations Supervisor Margaret Parker commends Lyndsay for her work in calming a suicidal subject who was in possession of loaded weapons and had been firing shots. "During the 51 minute phone call...Lyndsay built a rapport and connection with this man. I truly believe that Lyndsay saved this man's life". The entire team was commended for their coordinations efforts during this hostage negotiation: David B., Ben, Meghan, Dave, Jodi, Rosa, Lisa, Marsha and Wendy.

July 25, 2008 - Sheriff Robbins and his command staff commend Sr. Dispatcher Mike K. for his performance as the IDT dispatcher for the Sheriff's Office on the 4th of July.

July 10, 2008 - Operations Supervisor Margaret commends our dispatchers for their work during the three major fires in Santa Cruz County:

"I would like to personally thank each and every dispatcher who worked so diligently and without complaint during the recent fires. I know it was exhausting for all of you.

The IDT dispatchers were utilized and complimented by Sheriff Robbins and his command staff for their outstanding performance.

Each and every dispatcher should be commended for the work they performed during these disasters. Having said that I would like to personally thank two dispatchers who I believe stood out during these events. PSD II Dave Sumner returned from his scheduled vacation to respond as an IDT dispatcher. He wasn't required to do so, but due to his sense of commitment he did. Additionally, PSD II Amanda Douglas worked tirelessly as our EOC “runner”. She did a wonderful job of relaying critical information between the EOC and dispatch hour after hour.

I believe each and every one of you acted as professionals and true team members. No one complained about not getting breaks. No one complained about having to work very long shifts.

You are true heroes, in every sense of the word, and again, I thank each and every one of you for your hard work."

July 4, 2008 - Kristine received a commendation from a citizen, wanting to thank her for taking the extra time to comfort her while she was reporting a buglary to her house. This RP was crying and upset and wanted to thank Kristine for explaining the process and calming her down even though she knew it was one of the busiest days of the year for us.

July 1, 2008 - Kristy received a commendation from her supervisor for demonstrating her compassion, empathy and sincere concern while she attempted to talk a distraught man out of taking his own life. "Your use of specific techniques to keep the victim engaged inconversation, including your focus on his family members was an example that all of us can learn from and practice. I am convinced your extraordinary efforts that night did in fact save the victim's life."

June 11, 2008- Nicola earned high praise from her supervisor for her efforts in GIS mapping coordination with the various fire and law enforcement agencies during the Summit and Martin fires. Those maps assisted the agencies unfamiliar with the many poorly marked streets fight the fire more effectively and simplified the evacuation plan of our citizens. Nicola was also commended for her technical assistance and coordination efforts during our phone line issues.

April 28, 2008 - Public Safety Dispatcher II Melody MacDonald earned a Red Cross Heroes Award from our local chapter of the Red Cross. Melody will be among 10 Santa Cruz County heroes honored at a breakfast on May 21st.

"I nominated her because she embodies everything about what a 9-1-1 dispatcher should be," said Anita, who co-wrote Melody's nomination with her supervisor Margaret. "She has compassion for every caller...no matter how small their complaint."

Melody received the award for her work on two calls: helping frantic parents whose baby had accidently suffocated and giving life restoring medical instructions to friends of a woman who attempted suicide.

April 26, 2008 - Our public information booth at the Ducky Derby was a resounding success with almost 500 citizens contacted in four hours. The most requested information was, 'What happens after I call 9-1-1?' and 'What supplies should I have on hand in case of an earthquake?' We are always happy when we are able to come to a school or meeting and provide a short presentation on these subjects.

March 26, 2008 - Our center has purchased and implemented a software product called "CityWatch", which will allow us to telephone certain geographical groups with public safety information. We have used the product successfully to locate missing children and dependent adults, notifying citizens of hazardous situations (a gas leak) and advising neighborhoods of specific problems to be on the lookout for. The system will allow community members to self-register their cell phones in order to receive notifications. Coming soon...

March 10, 2008 - We applied for and received a grant from the Santa Cruz County Office of Emergency Services to be used for public education. SCCECC will partner with OES to provide information to our citizens about 9-1-1 and disaster preparedness. The funds will be used to purchase handouts and other supplies to give to people who visit our booth. Look for us at several community events throughout the summer.

February 28, 2008 - Our Center enjoyed a 100% success rate for our Fire/EMS Academy trainees. Abby, Adrienne, Bill, Jodi, Meghan, Melody and Tammy have been certified by their CTOs and Operations Supervisors as fully trained and ready for deployment on the floor.

January 29, 2008 - The entire Red Dispatch Team received a commendation from Lt. Hurley of the Sheriff's Office for their performance during a shooting that occurred in the Live Oak area. Dave, Val, Anna, Beth and Tracy fielded the many 9-1-1 calls that were generated and quickly updated the call with pertinent suspect and location information. Amanda kept the responding law units apprised of all new info including escape routes for the suspects while the rest of the team made sure responding medics knew the exact location of the victim so help could arrive as quickly as possible. "The successful apprehention of the suspects was no doubt, attributed in part by your individual contribultions and your combined team response that day" - Kevin Fink, Operations Supervisor.

January 15, 2008 - The entire dispatch team received a commendation from the Chief of the Aptos Fire Department for their handling of a structure fire in which a victim perished. Dispatchers Melody and Karen handled the original 9-1-1 calls, including one from the victim. Dispatcher Jim was on the radio calmly managing the traffic from several fire agencies as they worked to extinguish the fire. The rest of the team supported them in answering the many phone calls and notifiying the law agencies.

October 24, 2007 - Melody handled a medical call where the patient wasn't breathing, the victim of an attempted suicide. Melody, who had only recently completed her emergency medical dispatcher training, used her new skills to provide CPR instructions for the young woman, who survived in part thanks to Melody's calm assistance to the citizens on-scene and her expert use of ProQA.

September 29, 2007 - The entire dispatch team earned a commendation for its handling of an assault with a deadly weapon call in the city of Santa Cruz. Dispatcher Melanie did an outstanding job getting information from a hostile and uncooperative witness. Dispatcher Meghan was kind and reassuring to a woman who had children at a house neer the scene of the shooting. Adrienne, Ashley, and Lyndsay earned commendations for their teamwork dispatching Santa Cruz police and keeping up with all of the associated radio traffic. Jim dispatched fire and ambulance, while Tammy and Suzie handled went above and beyond handling the other calls for service.

June 20, 2007 - Making sense out of chaos sometimes takes a team effort. That was the case this morning, when dispatchers learned that a Capitola police officer was stopping a stolen vehicle in the area of Monterey and Washburn. Although the officer had the suspect at gunpoint, he fled the area and the chase was on!

Dispatcher's immediately send Santa Cruz Sheriff's deputies and the Santa Cruz Police Department's K-9 unit to the area to help with the pursuit. Eight minutes later, the suspect hit one of the Capitola police officers with the stolen vehicle, injuring him. The suspect then fled towards the densly populated Capitola Village at 70 mph, quickly crashing the car into a house, which then caught fire! Some 30 minutes after the call started, the suspect ran out of the burning house, was chased down on foot and arrested.

Among those dispatchers singled out for the work they did on this call were Suzie and Adrienne, who were calm, professional and never missed radio traffic on their very busy channels. Chuck and Beth coordinated the fire and ambulance response. The job was complicated by the fact the fire department couldn't go into the burning house because of the dangerous suspect, and the police officers couldn't endanger themselves by going in after the suspect becasue the house was on fire.

Every dispatcher in the room worked hard making phone calls for the primary dispatchers and answering the many, MANY incoming lines (including calls from the media). Teamwork and professionalism ruled the day.

January 23, 2007 - Sometimes, just being the calm, caring voice on the other end of the line is enough to help citizens through difficult experiences. One such person called dispatcher Anna a "lifesaver" for her assistance during a very frightening time. The terrified citizen was reporting a prowler, and said later that she was grateful for Anna's professional handling of the call...offering reassurance while obtaining pertinent information to get help on the scene.

January 5, 2007 - Ben helped deliver a baby for the first time in his 20-plus year career on this day. At the other end of the 9-1-1 line was an off-duty California Highway Patrol officer, who's wife had gone into labor and was ready to deliver their second child. Ben expertly led the called through the emergency medical protocols, helping deliver the baby before fire and ambulance arrived on scene. Ben calmly provided the baby's father the exact tools he needed to successfully accopmplish the complicated task without incident.