Members of Newtown's Emergency Communications Center were honored with a "2013 Outstanding Call Center" award Tuesday night for their service during the Dec. 14 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The award came at a Washington, D.C. gala that included Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Sen. Chris Murphy and Rep. Elizabeth Esty.
The event was sponsored by NG9-1-1, a not-for-profit that works with a congressional caucus to promote emergency communications issues.
“There is no shortage of shock and horror when a community is faced with the loss of innocent children, but the dispatchers at the Newtown Emergency Communications Center did not hesitate to do what they were trained to do – serve their community,” said NG9-1-1 chairman Angel Arocho. “Their swift action helped emergency personnel to act quickly, and reunite panicked parents and scared children. We are grateful for their service and are honored to present them with this award.”
In a release, NG9-1-1 officials called the center's efforts collecting information from the public at large and coordinating with law enforcement "invaluable in managing the horrific situation." Officials singled out the efforts of director Maureen Will.
Also honored were 911 dispatchers in Texas and Aurora, CO, the site of another mass shooting in 2012. Connecticut elected officials spoke highly of the Newtown team's work.
"We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the Newtown Emergency Communications Center staff for their courage on that tragic morning in December," said Sen. Murphy.
“Maureen Will, Jennifer Barocsi, Robert Nute and the entire team of the Newtown Emergency Communications Center are a shining example of the work dispatchers do to serve others,” Rep. Esty said. “On the darkest of days and in the most difficult of circumstances, Newtown’s dispatchers displayed the professionalism and commitment to community that is the core of emergency services."
The Newtown Emergency Communications Center provides 911 service to residents of Newtown, including police, fire and EMS service.