• By Todd Luck
  • Posted Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Public Safety Telecommunicators Week is April 9-15

National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, April 9-15, is a time to remember the vital role telecommunicators play in receiving and dispatching first responders to deal with emergencies.

The county's 911 Communications Center answers all 911 calls in Forsyth County that are outside the City of Winston-Salem. The center has 32 telecommunicators that receive about 115,000 911 calls per year and dispatch around 95, 000 calls for service.

"The 911 telecommunicators are the calm voice on the phone but are never seen and are truly the "first" first responders," said 911 System Manager Herb Swaim.

The center also answers 95,000 non-emergency calls a year from alarm monitoring companies for fire and medical alarms, other public safety agencies and from the general public for information.

If firefighters or paramedics are needed for a call, 911 telecommunicators will dispatch Emergency Medical Services (EMS) or local fire departments to those incidents. Callers that need a law enforcement response are transferred to the Sheriff's Communications Center.

The Sheriff's Communications Center has 30 telecommunicators receiving an average of 153,000 calls annually, including emergency and non-emergency calls. They also are responsible for handling entries into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), a computerized index of criminal justice information for wanted/missing persons, stolen property, domestic violence orders, etc.

"It takes a special person with a unique skillset to be a Telecommunicator, and we have some of the best.” said Sheriff's Office Communications Supervisor Ashley Conrad. “The job is complex and sometimes overwhelming, but our Communications Center does an excellent job of keeping our community and Deputies safe while remaining professional. I am honored to be a part of our team."

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