WEST CHESTER, PA — APCO International recently applauded the work and coordination of the two primary telecommunicators, JJ Evans and Molly Peterson, along with the entire communications platoon of the Chester County, PA, Department of Emergency Services, and bestowed upon them the official Teammates in Action recognition for a job well done.
Domestic calls can be some of the most dangerous incidents first responders go to. Public safety telecommunicators play a vital role in ensuring communications and information stays up to date so everyone remains informed. On September 19, 2018, the entire communications platoon of the Chester County, PA, Department of Emergency Services put on a master class for how it should go.
A series of unfolding events started when the sounds of gunshots were reported at a location within their jurisdiction, during the early evening. It was discovered that a male subject attempted to shoot his ex-wife, and was thankfully unsuccessful. He then proceeded to a secondary location where he unfortunately shot and killed both of his parents. He then fled this location, by vehicle, and a county-wide manhunt ensued. He was spotted later on by police officers, who started pursuit and took fire from him several times. He proceeded back to the original crime scene and crashed into the residence, at which point the scene was finally secured, more than 7 hours later.
Just following along with the story is a daunting task. The communications personnel that evening faced a continual uphill battle at each and every step. The entire platoon worked feverishly and flawlessly to keep all communications fluid and up to date. They initiated reverse 911 notifications to protect and inform the public, and kept clear lines of communication between many different Police, Fire, and EMS agencies, spanning a vast number of miles across the county.
Patching radio groups, manning the Mobile Communications Vehicle, and disseminating information to the News and Social Media outlets are just a small example of the extra tasks put upon the center that evening. Even with this ever-expanding incident occurring, the center was abuzz with normal everyday calls that they still had to field and dispatch. Under some of the most unimaginable circumstances, the communications staff rose to the occasion and their performance shined. They aided in a safe ending for all the first responders involved and the public.
Source: APCO Headquarters, 351 N. Williamson Blvd., Daytona Beach FL 32114-1112
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