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Vail Public Safety Center wins multiple awards

December 5, 2023, 10:16 am

The Town of Vail recently issued the following press release on the Vail Public Safety Communications Center (VPSCC) winning numerous awards.

The Vail Public Safety Communications Center (VPSCC) has been recognized by the Colorado Chapter of the National Emergency Number Association and the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (NENA/APCO) with three separate awards: Walt Hardesty Servant’s Heart Award, Team of the Year and Director of the Year. The awards were presented at the chapter meeting in Grand Junction on Nov. 30. 

Dispatch Supervisor Bonnie Collard received the Servant’s Heart award due to her exemplary dedication to the VPSCC. Collard was recruited by the organization that produces the Susan G Komen and St. Jude fundraising events and is excited by this new career opportunity. However, she has remained in a transition stage for over six months, as she is acutely aware of the critical staffing shortage at the VPSCC. Collard has worked both jobs during this time to give the training team an opportunity to get new hires up to speed. Her nomination form stated “Bonnie’s innate selfless desire to help her fellow supervisors, her direct reports, and ultimately the citizens and guests of Eagle County set her apart from her peers.” 

The Team of the Year recognition was awarded to dispatch supervisors Zak Sheets and Becky Pacheco, dispatchers Keturah Wilkinson, Brittany Zink and Alex Pollinger, and dispatch trainees Troy Larson and Yesenia Ramirez for their response during a complex, multi-hazard and multi-jurisdictional incident. This team was on duty on Sept. 7 when VPSCC received a call about a motor vehicle accident on U.S. Hwy 6. It was a head on collision with a possible entrapment; further calls indicated one of the vehicles was on fire. As the calls continued to come in, the motor vehicle accident became a quickly moving fire that was threatening a power line, railroad equipment and Interstate 70. When the first fire engine arrived on scene, crews immediately called for additional resources, but fire dispatchers had already recognized this need and already had wildland crews in route, Over the course of the call, this dispatch team fielded hundreds of 911 calls from motorists on I-70 while coordinating the response from 10 different agencies, totaling 21 units from seven different fire departments, 14 officers from three separate law enforcement agencies and four medics from the ambulance district. From the nomination form: “The professionalism that was displayed, the expertise and efficiency that the team used to dispatch this call in a timely manner was one of the most professional that I’ve witnessed in my 20 years in the business.” 

VPSCC Director Marc Wentworth received the Director of the Year award for his tireless advocacy for the center and all who work there. Wentworth is a familiar face in the community and maintains excellent professional relationships with each of the fire, EMS and law chiefs and directors; the regional public information officer’s group; and representatives from surrounding counties, state agencies and other stakeholders. He not only oversees and manages the center but also often works alongside the line dispatchers both when understaffed and during situations when the center becomes inundated with calls during large events. He works tirelessly to recruit new dispatchers and is always mindful of the retention of current employees. His nomination form says “Marc takes the time to communicate with each staff member individually and as a group creating an environment where they can speak openly and honestly about issues they may be having as an individual or issues they see within the center. This allows for the ability to grow, change and or adjust as needed.” 

For more information on the VPSCC, visit www.vail911.com

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