Hopefully you’ve never had to call 911. When someone calls 911 it’s likely because they are in a crisis, or at least having a very bad day. With that said, if you have ever had to call, or ever need to in the future, you can rest assured that the voice on the line is a highly trained, highly skilled, and highly dedicated telecommunicator (a.k.a. dispatcher) who is there to help you get through your crisis, or your very bad day.
As this week draws to a close, so does National Telecommunicator Week. It’s a few days out of the entire year where we recognize the men and women who are that voice on the line, and whose dedication to this community is displayed every time a person calls 911 for help. When you consider that the 911 lines are staffed every single minute of every single day, a week out of the year doesn’t seem like much, but that doesn’t mean we don’t truly appreciate and value the tremendous work these men and women do. They truly save lives and make what the officers and firefighters do out on the streets possible.
This year, during our annual awards ceremony 7 dispatchers were recognized for their outstanding work and dedication. The award recipients are chosen by their peers who know what these dispatchers face on a daily basis and who see firsthand how these dispatchers handle the intense and stressful situations. The first four awards in the list let us show our fun side, which is important with stressful jobs; the last three on the list recognize those who rise to the top of what they do. We are thankful for all of them, and for all dispatchers who are there when we need them most.
Interesting Facts About 911
- In 2010, the Grand Junction Regional Communication Center (911) received106,741 calls to 911.
- The Communication Center dispatches for 21 agencies across Mesa County.
- There are currently 37 dispatchers and 6 supervisors staffing the Communication Center.
- It takes a dispatcher an average of 12 months to become fully trained.
- According to the National Emergency Number Association, 8% of the population has the skills necessary to become a 911 operator.
- The 2nd week of April was designated National Public Safety Telecommunicator Week in 1991.
- In February 1968 Senator Rankin Fite completed the first 911 call made in the U.S. in Haleyville, AL.
For more information on the origin and history of 911 visit www.nena.org/911-overview-facts
This week KKCO aired their story that we had been helping them with. It’s about geotagging, in which people are using smart phones to snap pictures and then post those picture online. Many people aren’t aware that if you don’t disable the GPS function on your phone when you take a photo, that the latitude, longitude, date, and time for that picture becomes part of the photo’s data. That means when you post that photo online someone can see exactly where and when you took it.
We used the photos in our original “Stay Tuned” blog posting to show the folks at KKCO how this is done. Our detective took the 3 photos of the police department with his smart phone. Then, with a simple EXIF program he downloaded from the internet, we showed KKCO how easy it is to get the geotagging data.
Some of the more popular social networking sites, like Facebook, stip that additional data from the photos before they show up on the sites. The problem is many blog sites do not. Either way, we recommend you use caution when posting photos online, and always make sure you are aware of ALL of the information your pictures contain.
Thanks to KKCO’s Tim Ciesco and Leigh Ashman for helping to educate the public.
Here’s another news story that also helps paint a good picture of what geotagging is capable of revealing.
“CRIME OF THE WEEK”
April 14, 2011
The Grand Junction Police Department needs the public’s help to identify and locate the person(s) involved in a burglary at 683 Horizon Drive. Sometime between 4:00pm and 10:45pm on Tuesday March 15,2011 unknown subjects forced entry into the back door of the My Favorite Muffin store located at 683 Horizon Dr. #109. The subjects stole more than $3000 in property and caused approximately $500 in damage to the business.
If you have any information on this crime or any other crimes, please contact Crime Stoppers at 241-7867. Information leading to an arrest can earn you up to $1000 cash reward and you will remain completely anonymous. For more information on how to report a crime see us at http://241stop.com/.
GJPD Case Number: 11-012410
The folks at KKCO have asked us to help them with a story they are working on regarding your safety when you are posting online. This vague blog entry is part of the demonstration we will be doing for them. Once they’ve aired their story, which is scheduled for later this week, we’ll give you some more details. Stay Tuned!
The Colorado Department of Corrections has asked for help in spreading the word that they are looking for Jesse J. Bowers. Bowers escaped from custody while in Craig after a parole revocation hearing on Tuesday, March 22. His physical description is:
- 36 years old
- 5’7″ tall
- 170 lbs
- Green eyes
- Brown hair
Bowers was convicted of burglary, assault and criminal mischief out of Garfield, Mesa, and Moffat Counties.
Bowers should be considered dangerous. Do Not attempt to apprehend him.
If you know where he is call Crime Stoppers at 241-STOP or visit www.241-STOP.com
Thankfully, we live in a very generous community, full of people who don’t hesitate to go out of their way to lend a helping hand. As news of the devastating earthquake in Japan and the resulting tsunami continues to develop, rescue and aid services are sure to rush in. Unfortunately, that usually means criminals are not far behind.
If you want to donate money to help victims of this, or any disaster, please make sure you do a little homework first so you don’t become a victim of a scam. Before you give anyone any money, make sure you are 100% confident you know who you are giving the money to and what they will do with it. You can start by researching companies online, but don’t stop there. Make phone calls, or better yet, find a local chapter for your charity of choice and stop in to hand over your donation.
There are a lot of great charities out there doing great work. Make sure that you are connected with a legitimate charity or organization so that your money doesn’t end up in a scammer’s hands.
We Hope More People Will Take Advantage of this Free Service
Community Alerts sent to 964 people Tuesday night provided those people with important information regarding a power outage that hit large sections of Grand Junction. Those receiving the alerts were not only notified the power was out, but were also updated when the power was restored.
“This is an important tool for our community,” said Communications Center Manager Monica Million. “Regardless if you’re at home, at work, on vacation, or anywhere else, we are able to notify you of important events, but only if you sign up to receive this free service.”
Community Alerts are broken into five categories: power outages, traffic alerts, road closures, school closures, and prescribed burns and wildfires. They are also separate from Emergency Alerts made through our 911 Communications Center. You must sign up to receive Community Alerts, and by doing so you can choose which categories you want included for your alerts and how you want to receive the alerts. For example, Community Alerts can call your cell, work, or home phones, or send you a text or email message.
There’s a bonus too. The contact information you enter when you sign up for Community Alerts automatically gets included in our Emergency Alerts system. There is a reason why that is very important; when there is an emergency in your neighborhood the only way we can notify you is through a traditional landline phone unless you have provided us with additional contact information. That means even if you do not have a traditional landline phone in your home but you have provided a cell phone number for Community Alerts, for example, we would still be able to notify you if there is an emergency happening near your house by calling your cell phone.
Signing up is easy and only takes a couple of minutes. Simply visit www.gjcity.org and look for the link on the left side that reads Sign up to receive Emergency Notifications. You can also watch a short video by visiting http://gjcity.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=6&clip_id=379
You can also check out this brochure for more information: CommunityAlertsBrochure030911