Dispatcher Recognized For Heroic Efforts


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Harter, a Sherburne resident, was named the national winner of the Smart Telecommunicator Award for taking a frantic 9-1-1 call in June 2011 from a mother who reported that her 17-year-old disabled daughter was choking and unable to breath. Drawing off emergency medical dispatch training, Harter’s professionalism, compassion and reassurance kept the caller calm during the desperate situation, enabling him to provide instructions that saved the victim’s life.

“Dispatcher Jeff Harter’s work exhibits the dedication of this agency to the public we serve,” said Sheriff Ernest R. Cutting, Jr., during a ceremony honoring Harter, held on April 9 at the Chenango County Sheriff’s Office in Norwich. “His professional response during this incident saved Lauren LaMariana. I commend him for his attention to detail during this critical incident and compassion for the life of another.”

“I was in a panic when I realized Lauren was choking,” said Gwen Hornbeck during the ceremony. “Jeff calmed me down and I know his instructions helped us to save her life. I can’t thank him enough for what he did for my daughter.”

The Smart Telecommunicator Awards are conducted by Rave Mobile Safety’s Smart911 in partnership with the Industry Council for Emergency Response Technologies (iCERT).

In addition to the award, Smart911 presented a donation of $1,000 in Harter’s name to the American Cancer Society, a charity chosen by him and the family.

Last month, 9-1-1 call-takers and dispatchers (telecommunicators) from across the U.S. were nominated by peers to receive recognition for leadership, performance and overall contributions to their Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs). The general public reviewed 20 finalists online and thousands voted to determine a national winner, named to draw attention to National Telecommunicators Week (April 8-14) and the services provided by these professionals.

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