Public safety personnel recognized for heroic efforts

Published on June 14, 2021

Computers and a desk inside the Weld County Regional Communications Center.

Three members of Weld County’s Department of Public Safety Communications were recently honored by the department for actions taken to save two lives and help welcome a new life into the world.

Dispatchers Ashley White and Josh Rysavy each received Lifesaver Awards for their critical assistance in providing CPR instructions to callers who found family members unresponsive during separate incidences in February and March. CPR instructions provided by the dispatchers enabled the callers to resuscitate their family members, allowing them to receive medical care and ultimately survive.

In late April, dispatcher Jennifer Fretwell responded to a call from a pregnant woman who was deep into labor. With Fretwell’s childbirth instructions, the baby boy was delivered quickly, safely and successfully. Fretwell received the department’s Stork Award for her effort.

“Every day, emergency situations occur, and every day the people who work in Public Safety Communications are there to help others through the worst situations of their lives,” Weld County Commissioner Chair Steve Moreno said. “Dispatchers provide a critical service to the public. These awards show their professionalism and skills are key in generating positive outcomes to many challenging situations.”

Before a dispatcher is eligible to receive a Lifesaver or Stork Award, their call must meet call-taking standards with 100% proficiency. Their calls are evaluated by internal teams, with Lifesaver Awards only given after the subject of the Lifesaver call survives and it’s determined the call was completed following every criteria established by the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED).

The latest awards received continue a standard of excellence for Public Safety Communications. In 2019, the Weld County Regional Communications Center (WCRCC) earned recognition as an Accredited Center of Excellence by the IAED, and in 2020, the center was named the nation’s top public safety answering point by NICE Public Safety.

For WCRCC Manager Tina Powell, White, Rysavy and Fretwell’s accomplishments fill her with pride. More importantly, they highlight the continual hard work, dedication and team mentality of a staff working 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to respond to 911 calls.   

“When you sit with dispatchers and you watch them do what they’re doing, that sense of duty is so strong with them,” Powell said, smiling when explaining how dispatchers continually gain new skills by training, provide peer support to one another and have a truly selfless attitude when working eight hour shifts that allow the WCRCC to function at its best. “They miss holidays and time with their families; that sense of pride in their job is so strong, and they never complain. That happiness tells me we’re doing something right.”

Learn more about Public Safety Communications.