WATERBURY - Each year, the second full week of April is dedicated to the men and women who serve as public safety telecommunicators. The 2014 National Telecommunicators Week began on Monday, April 13 and will run through Saturday, April 19. The Vermont State Police wish to honor and recognize the hard work and dedication exhibited by state police telecommunicators, including dispatchers and 911 call-takers.

VSP has a tradition of providing the highest quality of service because of the dedicated women and men in our Public Safety Answering Points (PSAP). This is as a direct result of the selection process for these important positions, the training model we use, and the commitment to quality and professionalism. These highly trained professionals provide support to police, fire, and ambulance services throughout Vermont; and are a lifeline to every trooper on the road. Our emergency communications dispatchers and call-takers stationed at one of the four PSAPs in Vermont; located in Derby, Rockingham, Rutland, and Williston work countless hours around the clock, to help keep Vermonters safe and connected to public safety services.

NTW was first conceived by Patricia Anderson of the Contra Costa County (Calif.) Sheriff's Office in 1981 and was observed only at that agency for three years. Members of the Virginia and North Carolina chapters of the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials became involved in the mid-1980s. By the early 1990s, the national APCO organization convinced Congress of the need for a formal proclamation. Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) introduced what became H.J. Res. 284 to create "National Public Safety Telecommunicator Week." According to Congressional procedure, it was introduced twice more in 1993 and 1994, and then became permanent, without the need for yearly introduction.

The official name of the week when originally introduced in Congress in 1991 was "National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week." In the intervening years, it has become known by several other names, including "National Public-Safety Telecommunications Week" and "International Public Safety Telecommunicator's Week." The Congressional resolution also stated there are more than "500,000 telecommunications specialists."

Next time you call 911, please remember...

* Call only for immediate emergency assistance-medical, fire, or police.

* Be prepared to provide your location and any essential information the dispatcher may need.

* Stay on the line until told to hang up. You may be transferred to another agency.

* Remember that you might not be the only one calling, and there are other incidents taking place.

* If you mis-dial 911, please stay on the line so they can verify there is no emergency.

* Your 911 call could potentially be answered anywhere in the state, so the calltaker may not be familiar with your location.

* When you call in a complaint about a vehicle please try to get the make, model, color, and plate; only if it is safe to do so.