Communications Services

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Communications Services


9-1-1 Operator of the Year

Each month a communication operator is selected by a committee of supervisors who review nominated calls. These monthly winners are eligible for the Communicator of the Year award, at both the local and national level.

To be eligible for an award the communications operator must have participated in an event that involved the preservation of life, protection of property or the enhancement of personal safety or security in a manner that is consistent with unit goals and service values.

Bruce S. - Communicator of the Year awarded for 2011
On January 14, 2011, Communications Operator Bruce S. was working the afternoon shift assigned to call taking duties.

At approximately 9:30 p.m. a 9-1-1 cellular call was received by Bruce from a male who said somebody had recently attacked him and tried to kill him. The caller was not forthcoming with answers and, due to his condition, was difficult to understand. The caller advised that he did know his location but believed he was in an apartment on the 4th floor. He was afraid to leave the apartment to go outside to check for an address. He then stated he was on the balcony and that the suspects were still inside the apartment.

Bruce advised the caller not to hang up and ensured that the caller understood his instructions. Bruce then called the Calltaker Supervisor to request a trace on the caller's cell phone.

As the call progressed, the caller was getting impatient and scared for his life. Bruce kept the caller calm and ensured him he was trying to get officers to him. He asked the caller for the closest intersection. He asked the caller what he could actually see from his location to try and determine his whereabouts. Bruce continuously and patiently worked with the caller. As officers approached the area of the call, Bruce advised the caller he was going to have a police car turn on the car siren and wanted the caller to advise if he could hear it.

Bruce worked with the dispatcher in coordinating a police car to the area. He continued to keep the caller calm and focused even though he was extremely upset and cold. Moments later, the caller advised that he could see the police car. There was obvious sign of relief in the caller's tone of voice.

Once officers arrived on scene, Bruce continued to keep the caller calm. He started to ask the caller for a layout of the apartment so the information could be passed onto the officer's on scene. He also asked the caller to tell him the location and number of suspects in the apartment. As the call progressed, the caller’s anxiety level increased while he waited for officers to enter the apartment. Bruce worked with the caller continuing to get information and keeping him calm and focussed.

Members of the Emergency Task Force Entered the apartment and four males were taken into custody.

Bruce should be commended for his professionalism and patience in the handling of this call. He exhibited the TPS Core Values of a Positive Attitude, Respect and Teamwork throughout this potentially dangerous event, taking every measure to ensure a safe conclusion to this situation.

Debbie A. - Operator of the Year awarded June 2010
From 2010/06/18 - 2010/06/29, the City of Toronto was host to the G8/G20 Summit meetings attended by several of the worlds top political leaders.

Members of the Toronto Police Service were tasked with developing Canada's most unprecedented security details, ensuring the safety of the citizens of Toronto, visitors and world leaders alike. As a result members of the Communications Centre required to work extended hours at our backup site performing duties pertaining to this event, to allow for regular business continuity at our primary site in their normal fashion.

Throughout this eleven day event numerous scheduled and unscheduled protests took place within the downtown core of the city. On 2010/06/26, C.O. Debbie A. was assigned to dispatch duties for the DPLAN2 desk, which was responsible for a large portion of this area. An organized group of peaceful demonstrators began to gather and numbers soon began to increase. Requests for additional help began to flood the radio. Debbie remained calm and in control responding immediately to every request, ensuring officers, co-workers and her supervisors were continuously updated with the information received. All pertinent detailed information was updated in the CAD event.

Soon the crowd reached massive proportions. Their mood became increasingly agitated and violent resulting in a full scale riot. A total of six police cruisers were torched and destroyed and local retailers suffered extensive property damage and looting. Radio traffic was incessant and the extraordinary number of requests for officer assistance resulted in the radio system becoming overloaded causing intermittent loss of radio communication. Debbie remained in control despite the overwhelming obstacles and challenges she faced, maintaining a calm demeanor when anxiety levels were intensifying over the radio.

Throughout the duration of her shift, Debbie remained at her assigned position declining her assigned breaks and never wavering as she executed her duties with precision and accuracy.

Debbie is to be commended for her outstanding communication skills and professionalism. She exemplified the Service Core Values of reliability and teamwork, and undoubtedly contributed to the management of this extremely dangerous and challenging situation.

Kate G. - Communicator of the Year awarded for 2009
Kate was selected as Communicator of the Month for August, 2008 and was selected as Communications Operator of the Year.

Any hot August night in the city of Toronto is hectic well into the early hours of the morning and August 10, 2008 was no exception. At approximately 4am, North-West Toronto was rocked by a series of massive explosions. The Toronto Police Communications Centre (which also felt and heard the initial explosions) was inundated with calls in regards to the blasts, some of which were felt more than 32 kilometres away.

Communications Operator Kate G. was the Dispatcher for the area of the city where the explosions occurred. Kate initiated a response to the many calls being received by the 9-1-1 centre. Based on accounts from the first Officers on the scene describing the enormity of the blast, the decision was made to dispatch all available police units, city-wide. Kate was now in control of more than 75 Toronto Police Units, assisted by 19 OPP Units. In addition, she worked with the Officers in the field and the Supervisors in Communications setting up perimeters, co-coordinating evacuation efforts and arranging temporary shelter with the Toronto Transit Commission.

The events of that morning have proven the commitment and skill of not only Kate, but her co-workers in the Toronto Police Service Communications Centre. Their ability to work together in such an extreme circumstance is a testament to their dedication and loyalty to the Mission of the Toronto Police Service to keep our City the safest place in the World.

Kate and the members of her shift have been selected to receive a Teamwork Commendation by the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO) Canada. Kate was chosen by her colleagues to accept this award on their behalf at the APCO Conference in Regina Saskatchewan, in October 2009.

Glen H. - Operator of the Year awarded March 2008
On March 25, 2008, Communications Operator Glenn H. was assigned to dispatching duties. Glenn received a hot shot for a bank robbery located at 5080 Sheppard Avenue East. When officers arrived on scene, the suspect was waving an explosive "device" in his hands and bank personnel were filling bags of money for the suspect. The road supervisor on scene advised units to watch the building in case the suspect exited. During this time a Bank Manager was trying to get the employees out of the building, without alerting the suspect. The suspect continued making demands while holding an explosive device, leaving officers no choice but to use lethal force.

This was a major event and the desk exploded with radio activity requiring Glenn to communicate effectively under difficult circumstances. An emergency run to the hospital was part of this event and Glenn efficiently set up the route. Glenn played an important role of a very large team of individuals working together on a long and involved stressful event. Glenn was always cognizant of officer and public safety. Glenn works with a high level of professionalism everyday, but on this date he took it to a new level. Glenn successfully handled multiple demands from the field and kept calm and professional under tough circumstances. Glenn is deserving of recognition for his outstanding efforts.

Robert J. - Operator of the Year awarded December 2006
On December 24, 2006, C/O Robert J. was assigned to dispatch duties for 14 division. At 01:03 he received a hotshot for a shooting at King and Dufferin. Shortly after broadcasting the hotshot, the first unit arriving on the scene advised there had been two victims which had been wounded, one of which was unconscious. A request was made to rush the ambulance and an emergency run would be taking place with one of the victims. Without hesitation Robert placed a call to ambulance informing them of the updated patient information, while notifying the 52 and 51 division dispatchers of the anticipated route to the hospital.

Seconds later, a field unit advised he was in foot pursuit of a suspect believed to be armed. He immediately dispatched additional units to assist the officer. A Command Post was established and he began to assist with the co-ordination of the extensive perimeter, ensuring all points had been covered. Robert remained calm and was able to deal with the additional requests from the field.

It was evident that officer and public safety was paramount concern as Robert ensured all officers had been accounted for that had been involved in the foot pursuit, while continually broadcasting the description of the outstanding armed suspect and the need for caution to be used. In spite of heavy radio traffic associated with the event, Robert continued to broadcast outstanding calls and liaised with the dispatchers in surrounding divisions, to co-ordinate a timely response to the priority calls for service in the division.

Robert demonstrated extreme professionalism, reliability and teamwork during the entire call. This event had high potential to become a volatile situation. Robert's dispatching abilities and excellent communications skills in co-ordinating with his co-workers, supervisors, road supervisors and field units were instrumental in assisting the field to bring this event to a safe conclusion.

Nancy C. - Operator of the Year awarded January 2006
Communications Operator Nancy C. was the dispatcher for 22 and 23 Division on January 6, 2006, when she advised officers of a male that was wanted for threatening a fellow employee at a security company and was armed with a handgun.

Nancy dispatched marked scout cars to the suspect's address. Officers attended this location however the suspect was not home.

Officers set up in the area and a short time later the suspect was located and a pursuit ensued. The suspect crashed his vehicle into a parked vehicle and fled into a ravine on foot. Nancy relayed information to the officers that the suspect had a silencer on the gun, was wearing a bulletproof vest and was suicidal.

Due to the speed in which Nancy relayed information, the officers on scene were able to immediately take the appropriate action and notify the Emergency Task Force. Demands made to the suspect to surrender himself failed and he fled back into the ravine.

During this lengthy search Nancy was still coordinating the perimeter and was constantly providing officers with updates in regards to the Police Dog Services, Emergency Task Force and the York Regional Police Helicopter. Throughout it all she remained calm and professional. Nancy dealt with each request as it occurred and still maintained officer and public safety.

Rick F. - Operator of the Year awarded May 2005
On May 5, 2005, C/O Rick F. was the dispatcher for 31 Division. A hysterical female had dialled 9-1-1 to say her uncle had hurt her mother. Rick immediately assigned a unit and backup. He also made units aware of previous calls from this address containing a caution for violence. Officers on scene advised that an injured party required an ambulance, and identified a male with a knife standing over a second victim. Rick contacted Emergency Task Force and set up a command post. Within a few minutes, units advised shots were fired and confirmed the suspect had been shot. Radio traffic became incessant, information rapidly changing, creating a flurry of activity. Rick's experience, attention to requests from the field and especially his anticipation of needs resulted in an efficiently executed performance. He meticulously kept track of the location and status of all responding units, always maintaining public and officer safety. Rick conducted himself in a calm and exceedingly professional manner during the entire time.

Richard D. - Communicator of the Year awarded for 2004
On June 12, 2004, while dispatching 31 Division, Communications Operator Richard D. received a call for shots being fired at the rear of 31 Division. Richard provided officers with the detailed information that they required and as a result the vehicle and the gunman were stopped a short time later. However, when stopped, the suspect then put the gun to his own head and threatened suicide. Richard used his professional deportment and calm and concise manner to ensure effective communication was maintained throughout the event. As a result of the efforts of the police officers, ETF officers and Richard, the situation ended with the gunman surrendering and being taken into custody without injury or further incident. Richard's professionalism contributed to the successful conclusion of this event, and is reflective of the service and dedication of the men and women of the Toronto Police Service.

In recognition of his contribution to the success of this event, Richard was selected as the Toronto Police Service Communicator of the Year for 2004. Congratulations Richard.

Amy G. - Communicator of the Year awarded for 2003
In December, 2002, Communications Operator (CO) Amy G. received a call at the 9-1-1 emergency call centre for an apartment building fire. A woman, trapped in the elevator during the fire, had called 9-1-1 on her cell phone.

Amy had some of her co-workers notify Toronto Fire and Toronto EMS and provided the exact location of the victim. Amy stayed on the line and provided support and direction to the victim on how to stay alive. Through her efforts, fire crews were able to locate and rescue the victim, who is alive today, thanks to the work of Amy and the valiant efforts of Toronto's Firefighters.

The significance of the efforts of Amy and the fire crews is underscored by the tragic loss of life in the adjoining elevator as a result of the fire. This victim had not been able to call 9-1-1.

Wanda C. - Communications Operator of the Year awarded September 2002
On Friday September 13th, 2002 Chief Julian Fantino had the honour of presenting the Toronto Police Service Communications Operator of the Year Award to Communications Operator Wanda C. Wanda was selected for this award due to her skilful handling of two incidents over the past year which could have had much more serious consequences if it weren't for her decisive actions.

In the first instance she successfully resolved a desperate call from the wife of a suicidal male who was located through Wanda’s efforts and taken to hospital. In the second instance, she co-ordinated police back up to a call for help from an unmarked scout car which was pursuing a stolen auto. Unfortunately, the wanted auto was ultimately involved in a fatal collision. Wanda immediately arranged for all the necessary emergency services to properly secure and protect the scene. Wanda handled this very difficult and complex situation in a highly professional manner. Congratulations, Wanda.

Kristy M. - Communications Operator of the Year awarded September 2001
Communications Services has selected the winner of the first annual Communications Operator of the Year Award. The recipient of this award was drawn from the members who have been selected as Communications Operators of the Month over the past year. This first annual award was presented on September 14th, 2001 at the Skydome, in a ceremony sponsored by the Toronto Blue Jays to honour the top Communications Operators from the Toronto Police Service, Toronto EMS and Toronto Fire Services. The award recipient from the Toronto Police Service was Communications Operator (CO) Kristy M.

On April 26th, 2001 Kristy answered a 9-1-1 dialled call originating from a cellular phone. There was no ANI-ALI information available. Kristy could hear someone moaning and crying on the phone line. When she was able to establish voice contact she spoke with a male who was obviously very distraught. Kristy assured the caller that she was there to help him. Once Kristy had him settled down somewhat, he was finally able to explain that he had ridden his bicycle off a bridge, fallen approximately 100 feet and had broken both his legs. The caller had no idea where he was and was becoming more incoherent. Kristy quizzed the male about nearby landmarks and streets he may be close to, in an effort to better refine his location. The male offered a few street names, none of which turned out to be correct. It took several minutes, but with Kristy calmly guiding him, the male was eventually able to offer some information about nearby landmarks. The situation was further complicated in that he had landed in a remote valley on a very dark night.

With the help of her co-workers Kristy was able to determine that the male was in 13 Division. She then provided the Communications Centre dispatcher and other emergency services with enough information to direct emergency personnel to the scene. Kristy was on the phone with the victim for over one-half hour while she co-ordinated his rescue. The responding officers were finally able to locate the male when they observed his bicycle caught in the branches of a tree above him. Ironically, the first officer on scene had himself been a Communications Operator before becoming a Constable. The victim suffered two badly broken legs and internal injuries, but later recovered in hospital. Due to the remote location of the incident, the outcome might have been very different if it weren't for Kristy's patience and intelligent handling of the situation.

Congratulations to Kristy and all "Communications Operator of the Month" award winners, for their outstanding dedication and professionalism in serving our community.