April 14, 2014
Meet Terri Jones, one of our special telecommunicators at the Northen Command Center
This week, April 13 – 19, we join others around the country by thanking the dedicated men and women who work as public safety telecommunicators. These special individuals are more than a voice on the phone or radio whose tireless efforts behind the scene are there to help 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Each day, our dispatch center employees are usually the first and most critical contact citizens have with our Department’s emergency services. They take phone calls ranging from the routine question to what-may-be the most frightening moment in someone’s life. They are the vital link helping our troopers and other public safety responders during each call for service and request for information.
The Oregon State Police (OSP) Command Centers in Salem and Central Point provide dispatch support to all state police activities across the state and represent the primary point of contact for state police resources. Over the years, OSP dispatch services have evolved from 26 dispatch points to four regional centers to the present two command centers. It is often difficult to highlight any one individual; however this year we are highlighting an OSP Telecommunicator from each command center who represents our valued employees.
Senior Dispatcher Terri Jones started her Telecommunicator career with Lincoln City Police Department and joined OSP in 1990 after a local OSP sergeant encouraged her to apply. Since joining OSP, Terri has seen dispatch services change not only in location but also technology.
Terri works at the Northern Command Center (NCC) in Salem where she is part of a staff of five call takers, 26 dispatchers, and five line supervisors under the guidance of director Rich Culley. The NCC telecommunicators provide OSP dispatch services in a geographical area encompassing 22 counties; is the secondary primary answering point for the 9-1-1 centers that lie within those counties; and, is the activation point for all Oregon Amber Alerts. Last year, the NCC handled approximately 111,410 calls for service.
Since the start of her career, Terri has proven to be an invaluable asset to the OSP team. She trains new dispatchers, teaches radio procedures at the OSP recruit school, and in the role of a Lead Worker fills in as a supervisor when needed. She is also part of the NCC Incident Dispatch Team, a mobile tactical dispatch team that is deployed for special operations such as the Oregon State Fair and as a support team during active Oregon Amber Alerts.
Over 2 years ago, OSP worked with teams of agency and industry experts to develop a new Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system with advanced features and functions designed to provide OSP with a modern dispatch environment. Terri was part of the team to select what CAD system would work best for our dispatch centers and department. She was not only a big part in its development, introduction, and implementation, but she was also a member of the training team that helped others learn how to use the new system that went live August 2012.
Terri is not the only member of her family to work as an OSP Telecommunicator. Her daughter, Latosha Gilbert, also works at OSP NCC and takes after her mother in her commitment to helping citizens and public safety employees who contact the dispatch center.
“Terri is reliable, dependable, responsible, and experienced. She doesn’t hesitate to help out when needed and we applaud Terri for her work ethic and dedication her job,” said NCC Supervisor Cecilia Haess.