National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, Thank You SEACOM
It is National Public Safety telecommunicators week. SEACOM is the regional Telecommunication center for Cochise County located in Sierra Vista. Interim Director for SEACOM, Tammi-Jo Wilkins, was on “First Watch” this week to talk about the appreciation week.
Wilkins: We have been showering our staff with love, everybody across Cochise County. They've been bringing in food, and they have different gifts. The staff we have at SEACOM is absolutely phenomenal. I've never worked with a more dedicated, passionate staff before in my many lines of work. I'm excited to be a part of SEACOM, and I'm excited to watch what people do every day, the partnerships that are developed, and the people that are in there; it’s fun to go to work.
Give us a day in the life of a telecommunicator.
Wilkin: Busy. I don't think that there's a better word to describe it. The multitasking that occurs, the teamwork that occurs, the non-stop activity that occurs. Sometimes they don't even have an opportunity to take a break to refill their water bottle or to just step away for a few minutes. It’s nonstop right now.
How many agencies utilize SEACOM?
Wilkins: Multiple agencies across the community. We have all of the police departments and all of the fire departments. We do a lot of communicating with DPS. We do a lot of communicating with Border Patrol. They talk to people on probably some of the worst days of those people's lives. They have to be the voice in the dark, and they handle it like champs. They pick up and move on to the next person calling in with the worst day of their life. It takes a special person to be a SEACOM dispatcher, for sure.
Is SEACOM hiring?
Wilkins: We are building an eligibility list at this time. If anybody's interested in any career in public safety telecommunications, please apply on the city of Sierra Vista website, and we will be in touch with you with some virtual testing opportunities, and then we'll put you on an eligibility list. That will be good for a full year. When we have openings, we can draw from that list.
You talked about multitasking, and I've been in that room and seen how many screens are looking at.
Wilkins: There are multiple mouse pads for the different computer screens. When you call 911, it automatically pulls it up on a map so that the dispatcher can see where you're calling from. They've got a Spillman screen where they type in call information, and they keep track of everybody who's on duty. They have a screen with various fire and medical radio frequencies you can click and talk to. There's even a bank under the computers of different speakers where you might have one frequency in your ear but another frequency on the speaker because you have to keep track of what's going on. Of course, all of the phone lines that come into the console, and that's a lot, including 911.
SEACOM Shout Out.
Wilkins: Thank you to everybody who's come in and shared love with the facility this week. We've had Fry Fire, Sierra Vista Fire, Sierra Vista Police, Cochise County Sheriff's Office, the Constable, USDA, and Fort Huachuca.