UPDATED: Monday, June 17, 2013 - 10:35am
Waco, TX (KWKT) — Dispatchers/Call-Takers that fielded the numerous calls and handled all the radio traffic the night of the West Explosion are receiving National recognition. This morning, at the National Emergency Number Conference Opening Ceremonies in Charlotte, North Carolina, Waco P.D. Dispatchers/Call-Takers will be commended for their handling of the West Incident.
Dispatchers Robyn Rachuig and Shannon Barrington were manning the radios, handling all radio traffic and coordinated directly with the West Incident Command Post. Dispatchers moved on-scene responders at reports of danger and routed surrounding agencies into West and the football field. Shannon and Robyn are representing Waco, and will receive the recognition at the conference.
Shift Supervisor Janie Lemus and call takers Liz Clement, Noah Vigil, Katie Wong, along with Crime Scene Tech and former dispatcher Ashley Roy handled the disaster alone, during the first moments of the disaster. The Waco Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) handled over 1,000 calls from 7:30 pm to midnight that night. This does not include the numerous calls on lines that are not counted.
Along with Waco receiving recognition, will be the dispatcher teams involved in the Newtown School Shooting, Boston Marathon Bombing, and the New York Fire for Super Storm Sandy. The Public Safety Training Consultants sponsor these awards and have paid all the expenses to send the Waco Dispatchers.
PSAPs through out the country sent us cards of well wishes and “care packages” including gift cards with notes “lunch is on us”. Rather than lunch, our dispatchers voted to have a plaque made in honor of the West First Responders that were killed that night. Pictured are David Contreraz, Shannon Barrington, Whitney Sowders and Robyn Rachuig, 4 of the 8 tele-communicators on duty at the initial call from West. The plaque is displayed in the 911 center.