National Telecommunicators Week celebrates those on other side of 911 call

National Telecommunicators Week celebrates those on other side of 911 call

This week is National Telecommunicators Week, a time to thank those who work on the other side of a 911 call.

Agencies across Palm Beach County are thanking their 911 dispatchers.

Jennifer Rappaport has been a 911 dispatcher for 8 years.

"From day one I was hooked," Rappaport said. "You answer your first phone call and you either love it or hate it, and I loved it."

Rappaport is a dispatch supervisor with the City of Boca Raton.

She said this week's National Telecommunicators Week feels different after the year with the pandemic.

"It got bananas for a while, I won't lie," she said.

She said beyond having to wear masks and social distance, the types of 911 calls changed.

Some people called to report overcrowding at places.

She said the biggest change is asking every person a set of COVID-related questions.

"The frustration is coming back. Every question we ask has a purpose and so we follow protocol to ensure officer safety and response," Rappaport said.

Police and fire departments are sharing their thanks online. Almost all of them are saying their dispatchers are the backbone of their agency.

Thanks are also coming from a group of local kids that hang outside the dispatch center in Boca Raton.

Rappaport said they can't have visitors, which makes it hard to see the first responder family, "We haven't seen some of our work friends for a year, but we are still here doing the job. I am thankful we are healthy and can still do the job."

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