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A note of “Thanks” to dedicated Washington County Sheriff’s Communications Center | By Sheriff Martin R. Schulteis

January 14, 2021 – Washington Co., WI – A message from Washington County Sheriff Martin R. Schulteis:

Washington County, fire, Sheriff Martin Schulteis

The second week is of April is annually recognized as National Telecommunications Officer Week.  It is a time to honor the hard working and committed individuals that have chosen emergency communications as their profession. My appreciation for their work is not reserved for just that single week, so I wanted to share a brief story that recently came to my attention.

Our communication officers have an irreplaceable responsibility to answer calls for help from our citizens during the most trying of circumstances.  This transpires around-the-clock while many of us are asleep at night or enjoying free time on weekends and holidays. The Washington County Sheriff’s Office Communications Center alone handles about 100,000 total phone calls annually.

Below I have a short story that illustrates the point better than I ever could.  This is a correspondence* our open records person received after a family member requested a copy of a 911 medical call:

“I’m sending this to you because you’re the only contact I’ve had regarding the 911 emergency call placed by my sister.  She died while on the call.  One of my other sisters was very sad that Connie died all alone. After I listened to the call I concluded (and told my sister) that Connie didn’t die “alone.”  The 911 operator was with her every second right up till the end.  There was no way Connie would have lived no matter how fast help had arrived.  (Which by the way was VERY fast). I sent a copy of the call to my sister.  After she listened she was just as impressed as I was over the amount of empathy and professionalism expressed by the dispatcher.  After she found out her address she asked if “Connie” was her name.  She then called her by name more than once as she encouraged her and gave her emotional support and reassurance that help was on the way, even letting her know when the ambulance had pulled into the driveway.

Is there any way you could convey our sincere thanks to this operator for her kindness, empathy, understanding and professional behavior on behalf of my family & I?  If I were ever in the same circumstance as my sister I would want this operator (and no other) on the other end of the 911 call.  My sister did not die alone.  We are so grateful to the operator/dispatcher.  Please tell her for us if you can…”

It is my honor to work with such a dedicated group of caring individuals.

Martin R. Schulteis, Sheriff of Washington County

*Quote used with permission of Connie’s family.

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