LASD News

Sheriff Villanueva Honors Those Who Are the “Calm During the Chaos” for National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week


Sheriff Villanueva Honors Those Who Are the “Calm During the Chaos” for National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week

During National Public Safety Telecommunicators (NPST) Week, Sunday, April 14, 2019 through Saturday, April 20, 2019, telecommunicators across the nation will be recognized for their significant contributions to public safety by the communities they serve.

The 102nd Congress first introduced NPST Week in 1991.  This was followed three years later by a presidential proclamation by President Bill Clinton, which designated the second week of April as National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week.  The idea for the week-long event originated in 1981 with Patricia Anderson of the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office, and has since grown into the nationwide event it is today.

Often telecommunicators, more commonly referred to as “dispatchers,” are the first line of assistance when the community needs help.  Although they are rarely seen or heard by the public, dispatchers are the behind-the-scenes link between those in need and those who can help. They are the voice of calmness and composure, keeping the airwaves organized during even the most dynamic of events.

As a result, we celebrate and honor our dispatchers one week each year by recognizing their contributions to helping keep our country, personnel and public safe.  The Sheriff’s Communication Center dispatchers and law enforcement technicians assigned to special desk operations consistently demonstrate a high level of performance and devotion to their duties.

Dispatchers handle around 5,000 calls per year, and coordinate events such as assistance requests, pursuits, containments, deputy-involved fights, and even deputy-involved shootings.  They perform fluidly during intense events and even offer a little humor during the less-stressful moments.  For deputies working out in the field, the dispatchers’ voices and personalities become familiar over the years, and even though they will likely never meet, the dispatchers seem like longtime friends.

The Department’s tradition of annually recognizing one dispatcher began in 1986 and since grew into a new tradition of honoring two dispatchers, one from each shift.

On Monday, April 15, 2019, Sheriff Alex Villanueva recognized the dedicated service of two dispatchers and presented this year’s Public Response Dispatcher of the Year awards to:

Nicolas Fragoso, early morning shift dispatcher

Michael Morreale, dayshift dispatcher

Nicolas Fragoso was hired as a dispatcher in March, 2010.  He is a valued member of the Communications and Fleet Management Bureau Training (CFMB) Staff and has been invaluable in helping to train newly-hired dispatchers.  He enjoys collaborating with fellow dispatchers in finding more efficient radio techniques.  He loves the spontaneity of his job, and the challenge of remaining calm throughout the most intense emergency situations.  When not at work, Nicolas can be found at the gym, attending a Krav Maga class or painting along with Bob Ross.

Michael Morreale was hired by the Department as a dispatcher in June, 2014.  He is also a valued member of the CFMB Training Staff.  Mike's sister Jessica was recently hired by the Department as a dispatcher, as well.  He helped several dispatcher trainees successfully complete their training period and become full-time dispatchers. When not working, Mike enjoys spending time with his wife, Joanne, and their two dogs. 

During the ceremony, Sheriff Villanueva praised both dispatchers, “You represent the best in a demanding profession that is often the critical link between county residents and our frontline deputies. Thank you for your dedication to an indispensable profession that few people outside the Department know of, but that many residents rely on in their most trying moments.” The Sheriff also spoke over the LASD police radio countywide, thanking dispatchers everywhere for their hard work and diligence under difficult circumstances and constant duress.  

Unit Commander of CFMB, Captain Judy Anderson, likewise applauded the professionalism of her team, “The Department’s dispatchers are triaging a massive input of calls for service, keeping their cool, and ensuring the right resources are matched to the right calls for service.  They must make split-second decisions under tremendous pressure. I am proud today not only of Michael and Nicolas, but the entire Sheriff’s Communication Center Staff.”

The position of Dispatcher is one of the many exciting opportunities at the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. Checkout the variety of sworn and professional positions available at http://lasdcareers.org/joinlasd/.  

For more photos of the event click here