In 2017, the Communications Section continued to operate one of the busiest 911 centers in the southeast United States. With an authorized strength of 182 members, Communications represents the largest contingent of civilian employees in the Sheriff’s Office. The majority of personnel are 911 Operators, Dispatchers and Teletype operators. The section also includes training, technical, administrative staff and personnel assigned to the False Alarm Reduction Unit.
2017 was another eventful year: In June Communications personnel worked the FIAMMA mass shooting incident which occurred just over a mile from the Communications Center and tragically left six dead. Later in the year, Communications responded to the arrival of Hurricane Irma in September by activating all personnel, activating our new back-up 911 center and moving personnel to a Hurricane shift configuration. Following the passing of Hurricane Irma, the Communications TERT (Telecommunicator Emergency Response Team) received its first out-of-county deployment. A team of five responded to the hard hit Collier County. Days later, a second team of two was deployed to Marathon in the Florida Keys to work in a make-shift 911 center following the destruction of the Monroe County 911 center. In the last quarter of the year, Communications worked with the County 911 office to implement the necessary technology and prepare personnel for the implementation of a county-wide text-to-911 solution scheduled for early 2018.
In 2017 OCSO answered 678,251 emergency 911 calls and a similar number of non-emergency calls. An impressive 93.35% of all 911 calls were answered within ten seconds. This represented our best annual answering performance on record! Furthermore, on a monthly basis, December 2017 represented the 29th consecutive month that OCSO Communications exceeded the state mandate, another unprecedented achievement!
On Wednesday February 14, 2018, Communications received national recognition when the NextGen911 Institute, a non-profit organization in Washington DC that promotes the advancement of 9-1-1 services, presented the Orange County Sheriff’s Office Communications Section with their “Outstanding 911 Call Center” award. Sheriff Jerry Demings was on hand to receive the award accompanied by Director of Emergency Communications Bryan Rintoul, Assistant Squad Leader Kali English and Dispatcher Anays Santos.
The Sheriff’s office Communications Section was also presented with a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition “in recognition of your overall excellence in serving the public, including the handling of emergency situations reported to 9-1-1 and the deployment and management of new technology. Congratulations and best wishes on your future endeavors.”