A group of Glynn County’s essential public safety workers heard something in Columbus recently that they rarely hear — good news.
The Glynn-Brunswick E911 Center was honored as the state’s 911 Center of Year during the Georgia Emergency Communications Conference, March 8-12.
The award came during a year in which local dispatchers performed admirably throughout, receiving and acting on emergency calls requiring immediate police, firefighting and medical assistance, said Steve Usher, director of the Glynn-Brunswick E911 Center.
Most impressively, the dispatchers were the calm in the storm, the calm in the slow-moving and powerful Hurricane Dorian, which prompted a countywide evacuation order. It threatened the region with serious damage for days before veering seaward in the final hours on Sept. 4. Two days later, they stayed the course when emergency calls began lighting up the 911 Center regarding a hulking freighter (the Golden Ray) that had overturned in the St. Simons Sound.
It is not for the accolades that these folks sit in that dark room on second floor of the Glynn County Police Safety Complex, 157 Public Safety Blvd., waiting to respond and sort out the county’s latest bit of bad news, Usher said. But the recognition the dispatchers earned from their peers is particularly gratifying to Usher.
“As a director, my job is to let them do their jobs,” he said. “And they do that very well. They are very dedicated, and they love this profession. They are very good at what they do, and they know how to multitask.
“This award was not given to them, by any means. They earned it.”
County and regional 911 centers from throughout the state submitted entries to the annual competition, which was judged by 911 officials in North Carolina, Usher said.
Glynn County was among five finalists. Ultimately, Glynn County’s 911 enter was selected as the state’s best.
The Glynn-Brunswick E911 Center received its certification last year through the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (ABCO), a demanding process and a prestigious accomplishment.
The 911 center folks also organized the Trunk or Treat event for kids in October, which was held in conjunction with the county’s National Night Out celebration. It attracted some 3,000 people to the Public Safety Complex, Usher said.
The 911 center consists of 28 employees and is in the process of filling two vacant positions, he said. Dispatchers work in 12-hour shifts. One group fields emergency 911 calls and the other group dispatches the calls to the responding agency, he said.
The 911 center serves the county and city police departments, the county and city fire departments and assists the College of Coastal Georgia Police and the Glynn County Schools Police.
The recent award only means the rest of the state now knows what public safety workers in Glynn County have long known about the dedication and commitment of our local 911 dispatchers, said Jay Wiggins, acting Glynn County police chief.
“I could not be prouder of our Glynn/Brunswick 911 Center and all of its personnel,” said Wiggins, who was director of the county’s Emergency Management Agency before accepting the acting police chief role last month. “Their recent recognition is a great honor and well deserved. Emergency response truly starts with a 911 call. They are a lifeline for our citizens and first responders alike, during chaotic times.
“It is reassuring to know that when you call for help, the professional men and women of our 911 Center are on the other end of that line. They are all true Public Safety heroes and I am proud to say that we have the opportunity to work with them every day.”