Recognizing our operators during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week
2023-04-11 10:39 PDT
On this National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, Surrey RCMP is paying tribute to the dedicated employees working in our Operational Communications Centre (OCC). Our operators are the first point of contact for the public when they need assistance, and are also a lifeline for our officers, as they relay critical information which helps keep first responders safe.
In 2022, the Surrey RCMP OCC received 195,858 calls for service. Our call-takers manage incoming 911 calls and non-emergency calls, as well as dispatch officers when service is required. The ability to multi-task on the job and remain calm is essential, as operators must carefully and accurately collect details from each caller to help inform the appropriate police response as a situation unfolds.
The people and co-workers I’ve met through the years have been some of the best of my life, says veteran operator Andrea Versteeg.
The people here really help get me through what can at times be a very stressful job…there is a lot to learn in an ever-changing environment.
The City is currently hiring telecommuncations operators for our OCC. Those who are interested in serving in this vitally important role can apply online through the City’s careers webpage.
I have always had an interest in working in a fast-paced and dynamic environment, says Ekdeep Kooner, an operator who began working in our OCC in February 2023.
I wanted to join a team that was driven by doing meaningful work…I am looking forward to being a part of the solution and being able to send help when situations are the most critical.
Helping our operators
Our OCC operators also have to contend with a large number of false or abandoned 911 calls every year: 57,264 in 2022 alone, which represented 33% of calls. These calls tie up the line unnecessarily for others who may be waiting to report a potentially life-threatening situation. They also take up the time of our busy operators and officers, who must follow up either over the phone or in person to ensure the caller’s safety.
How you can help avoid false 911 calls:
- Lock and store your phone properly
- Don’t let children play with phones – even without a SIM card they can call 911 by accident
- Dial slowly and carefully when making international calls
- If you do call 911 accidentally, stay on the line and answer questions from the call taker
Surrey RCMP is also encouraging everyone to keep 911 for emergencies only. Our operators are not able to transfer callers to the non-emergency line. There are also certain types of crimes that can be reported online.
For media inquiries contact:
Cpl. Vanessa Munn
Surrey RCMP Media Relations Unit
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