Photo/Story Gallery 2005

FHP Duty Officers Deserve Praise

Duty Officer Burrows representing FHP's Lake Worth Regional Communications Center for receipt of a proclamation at a recent meeting of the Palm Beach County Board of Commissioners.It’s time once again to celebrate National Telecommunications Week, observed this year April 10th-16th. We would like to take this opportunity to recognize and commend our hard working duty officers and supervisors serving in our agency’s seven regional communications centers for the excellent job they do each day!

Pictured: Duty Officer Pilar Burrows represents FHP’s Lake Worth Regional Communications Center for receipt of a proclamation at a recent meeting of the Palm Beach County Board of Commissioners.

Our duty officers and duty officer supervisors all across the state have a tough job. On a daily basis, they must deal with rapid emergency response, provide information, assistance, and aid in times of distress, and make critical decisions within seconds while maintaining poise, calm, and compassion under enormous pressure. Many of us do not stop to think about our duty officers who constantly answer the calls for service that come into our communications centers. During this past year, when Florida was hit hard by four hurricanes, our duty officers performed exceptionally, some putting their own personal needs aside in order to assist our troopers, citizens and visitors during those stressful times.

This week let’s make a special effort to recognize and show appreciation for our duty officers and duty officer supervisors. We encourage you to remember the commitment and devotion these men and women provide to ensure the safety and security for all of us. They deserve our thanks, not only during National Telecommunications Week, but each and every day!

Take a look at what some duty officers have done over the past year all across the state:

Tampa Bay DO’s Help Wounded Trooper

Duty Officer Cindy Morrison Duty Officer Tim Proctor Duty Officer Mike Jones
L to R: Duty Officers Cindy Morrison, Tim Proctor, and Mike Jones

From time to time things happen that verge on being catastrophic. Traffic stops can go bad, backing up another officer can be tense, and performing CPR on an injured person waiting for an ambulance can seem like an eternity. Our FHP members behind the scenes and on the street do a phenomenal job each and every day for the citizens and visitors in Florida – a perfect example of which happened on January 5th in Troop C.

When Trooper Brandon McElderry’s first call for help came across the radio into the Tampa Bay Regional Communications Center, the words “Tampa I’ve been shot!” sent chills down everyone’s spines. After all, these are the very words that we all pray to never hear. His call for help was followed by a good description of the suspect who was still at large. It was left to the duty officers responding to his call to make good things happen out of a bad situation that had the potential to become a worse one.

While Duty Officer Cindy Morrison listened to Trooper McElderry trying to decipher his exact location and capture the suspect’s description, fellow Duty Officers Mike Jones and Tim Proctor sprang into action coordinating backup from FHP, the Tampa Police Department, and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, as well as ensuring a rapid response from EMS. With the entire communications center pulling together as a team, Cindy, Tim, and Mike continued working in an exceptional manner until help finally arrived for our injured trooper. Their professionalism and the ability to stay focused on the task at hand got the job done.

On behalf of the men and women of Troop C, we wish to extend our heartfelt gratitude to everyone in the Tampa Bay Communications Center for making sure that we all get home safe each and everyday.

Tallahassee Regional Communications Center
Commendation for Duty Officers

I would like to commend Duty Officer Sandra Sparby and Duty Officer Sherry Goude for their quick thinking and professional actions displayed regarding a situation that could have easily become tragic. The situation involved a subject who called and apparently was suicidal, upset, confused, angry or all of the aforementioned. Their professionalism and knowledge of what steps to take in a situation such as this should not go unnoticed.

On January 31, 2005, at 11:03 PM, while operating the Crestview console, Duty Officer Sandra E. Sparby received a call via telephone from a deranged individual that stated he was cutting himself with a razor. Duty Officer Sparby immediately took control of the situation by talking to the subject and calmed him by the use of conversation. Duty Officer a Sparby continued talking to the subject while at the same time getting his location, the reason he was doing this, and assuring him she would stay on the line to help him.

Duty Officer Sherry A. Goude, while operating the Pensacola console immediately dispatched Trooper William Smith, ID# 474, to the Santa Rosa Rest Area where the subject was located. At that same time, DOT Officer Joseph Emborsky, ID# D210, heard the transmissions go out and proceeded to the location as well. Duty Officer Goude also called the Escambia County Sheriffs Office and advised them of the situation who in turn advised they would send a Deputy as well as EMS personnel.

Duty Officer Sparby continued talking to the subject and by offering “comforting words” whereby she obtained the subjects name and date of birth. Within 2 minutes of dispatching the call, DOT Officer Emborsky arrived at the scene and took control of the subject until EMS arrived. Trooper Smith arrived approximately 14 minutes later to assist all parties involved.

A subsequent wanted persons check performed by Duty Officer Goude revealed the subject was wanted out of Lowndes County Georgia for a family offense. Escambia County Deputies took custody of the subject for the warrant(s) and EMS transported him to the hospital.

It is my observation that these two Duty Officers performed to the highest standards of their profession and through diligent efforts, may have saved a man’s life. Through these efforts a wanted man was also apprehended. Job well done!

From: DOS John Zappone

Tallahassee Regional Communications Center
Commendation for Duty Officers

Duty Officers Crowell and StoltzThis letter is to commend and make note of an incident where two of our Duty Officers personally assisted a citizen involved in a crash.

Pictured: Duty Officers Casey Crowell and Shannan Stoltz

On March 17, 2005, Duty Officers Casey Crowell and Shannan Stoltz were gathering at the Chili’s restaurant located on Appalachee Pkwy, for a squad meeting. While standing near the entrance of the building the Duty Officers heard a car speeding up the service road next to the Parkway and turned to see where the noise was coming from.

Duty Officer Crowell reported that as soon as she saw the vehicle, she noticed that it was swerving all over the road. The driver obviously did not have control of the vehicle. The vehicle crashed head on into a tree. Duty Officer Crowell immediately dialed 911 and started running toward the vehicle to aid the crash victim. Duty Officer Crowell gave the information to the 911 operator and requested assistance from police, ambulance and fire rescue, due to the fact that the vehicle was smoking from both the engine and inside the vehicle.

Duty Officer Stoltz having witnessed the same crash was also running toward the car to assist the victim. When the victim was safely away from the smoking vehicle, Duty Officer Stoltz then started asking the victim questions to test his coherence. Soon paramedics, police and fire arrived and began to assist the bleeding victim. Duty Officers Crowell and Stoltz stayed and gave emergency personnel the information on what they had witnessed.

It is not often that Duty Officers are able to assist citizens from the other side of the radio and in my opinion; that both of these Duty Officers should be commended for going the extra mile to assist this citizen.

Duty Officer Awarded Certificate of Appreciation

Duty Officer Gordon receiving a Certificate of Appreciation Award from Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford.Jacksonville Regional Communications Center Duty Officer Robert Gordon was given a Certificate of Appreciation Award from Sheriff John Rutherford of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office for assistance he provided a JSO officer who was run over by a vehicle.

Pictured: Duty Officer Robert Gordon receives a Certificate of Appreciation Award from Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford

Robert was at a restaurant with a group of friends when he noticed a JSO officer approach a vehicle in the parking lot and order the driver to get out of the vehicle. The officer was standing by the driver’s side, when suddenly the driver turned the wheels and put the vehicle in reverse and backed over the officer, then left the scene. Robert ran over to the officer and immediately called JSO dispatch on the officer’s portable radio for help. Robert then assisted with apprehending another individual who was having an altercation with the restaurant doorman. After other JSO officers arrived, Robert assisted with the description of the vehicle and direction of travel, which helped in apprehending the suspect.