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Dispatcher on Quiz Show

South Walton Fire District (Fla.) dispatcher Tamika Reid was a contestant on the syndicated TV show “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” on Wedesday, and won $1,000 after missing the $16,000 question. The 30-year old correctly answered: “Maria “Money Honey” Bartiromo was the first journalist to provide live daily reports from what storied New York locale? (Stock Exchange Floor), used “Phone A Friend” to answer, “Which of these destinations is also known as the “Holy See”? (Vatican City), and used “50-50″ on “When a custom wedding dress is being fitted, the mock-up dress is commonly made out of what material?” The choices narrowed from rayon, chenille, damask and muslin to chenille/muslin. Tamika chose chenille…and the answer was muslin. Vew a photo of her appearance here.

University Dispatch Story

Students have returned to college, and the Kent State University (Ohio) newspaper has run a profile of their police department’s comm center, including dispatcher Melissa Call, who refers to officers as “her officers.” Read the entire story here.

FCC Re-Org

Thanks to NENA for the heads-up: the FCC is re-organizing its public safety-related operations into a separate Bureau with the title, “Public Safety and Homeland Security.” FCC Chair Kevin Martin told Congress that the new Bureau will be operational by Sept. 26th, and that all 911-related issues will be shifted to the new group.

Canada APCO Award

Abbotsford (BC, Canada) police dispatcher Tina Squire will receive the group’s Public Safety Communicator award during the joint APCO-NENA conference Oct. 1-4. She worked for the RCMP as a dispatcher and then joined Abbotsford, in the Vancouver area two years ago. “Tina was selected based on her outstanding skills as an emergency dispatcher over many years, including some very complicated calls such as the tanker spill in 2005 and a kidnapping earlier this year,” said police chief Ian Mackenzie.

Radio Jammer Sentenced

The long-running court case of Jack Gerritsen is over–the 70 year-old has been sentenced to seven years in prison on federal charges of interfering with radio communications. The Amateur radio operator was found guilty last year of broadcasting on Coast Guard, military, law enforcement and other public safety frequencies in the Southern California region over a four-year period. The transmissions included long political rants and obscenities. Gerritsen served 38 months on a previous similar conviction, but soon began resuming his pirate broadcasts when he was released in 2003.

Roof Collapse Hits Radio

A section of roof at the Scott City (Mo.) police station collapsed, drenching the department’s radio base station with water and knocking it out of service. Some time during the night a rusted portion of the roof support gave way, probably caused by air conditioner run-off. That same water flowed down onto the radio gear, police chief Don Cobb reported. A back-up radio has limited range, so the Scott County E911 Center is helping with some radio dispatching.

Dispatcher Group Forming

A group of trainers who have been key in developing the concept of on-scene incident dispatching has formed a national group to recommend standards of certification, qualification, and training. The National Incident Dispatcher Association (NIDA) offers three levels of members, with dues waived for the first 90 days. The concept of dispatchers working on-scene began about 13 years ago, and many local agencies have developed teams of incident dispatchers for regional incidents. Hurricane Katrina sparked interest in mutual aid for dispatching and the incident dispatching concept. Find more information at the association’s Web site here.

APCO Launches VoIP Project

APCO has launched an official project to deal with the issues of VoIP and what it calls, “emerging technology location delivery challenges.” The project is numbered 41 among the associations active projects, and will be a part of its Project LOCATE. According to a press release, Project 41 will, “develop partnerships with vendors and service providers to improve the location information provided, provide public education to manage the expectations of consumers, and create an effective practice guide to include technical and operational alternatives for public safety answering point (PSAP) response.” Find more information here.

Another Shift Idea

Thanks to Sandie for submitting her county comm center’s shift schedule, which takes the place of 12-hour shifts, or their former 8-hour, 6-on/2-off schedule. The advantage is that it allows weekends off every other week, and it’s a longer weekend, too. Read the description and download the spreadsheet here.

Comm Center Profiled

Yet another comm center profile in the newspaper: the Roseburg (Ore.) News-Review describes the Douglas County, and mentions 13-year veteran Ronna Salerno. Read the story and the sidebar of center statistics here.

LAPD Profile

A nice profile of the Los Angeles Police Department comm center appeared in the Daily News, including about 32-year veteran Judy Ruiz. The story coincides with a recruiting drive the LAPD is undertaking for the comm center. Read more here.

Judge Rules in Lawsuit

Waterford (Conn.) dispatcher Laurie Lewis filed a federal lawsuit against the town, its fire administrator and a selectman, saying she was promoted and worked as a supervisor for two years, but was never paid the additional salary she was promised. Now a judge has ruled that she wasn’t entitled to the pay, through a strange circumstances: the supervisor’s position had been eliminated by the town, but the fire commissioners promoted her into the position anyway. She believed she had been promoted, but the judge ruled against Lewis in the lawsuit. She had claimed violations of her property rights and right to due process, as established in the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; that the town failed to fairly compensate her under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938; and caused her severe emotional distress.

Airport Interop System

Dallas (Tex.) Love Field has debuted a mesh network technolgy to link the radio systems of different agencies is a major emergency occurs at the huge airport. The system was developed and installed by CoCo Communications, and was funded with $979,100 from a federal DHS grant.

VoIP: State of Union

VoIP Magazine has published a long article describing the current state of VoIP E911, including regulatory and technical issues that have been both solved and yet to be implemented. Read the entire article here.

APCO Reaction on VoIP Law

APCO issued a statement saying that it applauds the U.S. Senate passage of legislation that requires VoIP providers to connect customers to local PSAPs.  “APCO International greatly appreciates the Senate’s bipartisan efforts to adopt VoIP/9-1-1 legislation without provisions that would have undermined the FCC’s rules,” the group said. Wording in a similar bill would have delayed enforcement of the FCC’s previous requirement to link VoIP providers’ lines to the country’s PSAPs. “”APCO International will object to any statutory language that provides loopholes for VoIP providers to avoid 9-1-1 obligations, or delays the enforcement of the FCC Order,” APCO president Wanda McCarley said.