|(HOUSTON, TX) – Three Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) Communications Officers will be recognized by the Texas chapter of the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) and the Texas Commission on Emergency Communications (CSEC) for their outstanding work while responding to 9-1-1 calls.|
The recipients are Emil Gencarelli and Regina Cochran, both Telecommunicator of the Year Award winners, and Nelda Dixie, recipient of the Silent Hero Award. The recognition of these outstanding officers will be made at an awards luncheon on August 26 as part of the Texas NENA/CSEC Annual Conference in Houston.
On October 20, 2008, Communications Officer Emil Gencarelli took a 9-1-1 call from an armed suspect. The suspect claimed he was being held hostage. It was quickly determined that it was the suspect, a mental health patient, who was holding his parents hostage. Gencarelli, who had been on the job for three months and had just finished training days before, found himself in the middle of his first hostage negotiation call. Despite having succeeded in calming down the suspect, Gencarelli heard a gunshot 15 minutes into the call. The bullet narrowly missed HCSO deputies that were staged outside the suspect’s home. The suspect claimed he accidentally fired his weapon and became hysterical thinking that the officers were going to hurt him. Communications Officer Gencarelli stayed on the phone with the suspect for almost two hours until the suspect calmed down and surrendered to waiting deputies. No one was hurt.
On February 16, 2009, Communications Training Officer Regina Cochran received a 9-1-1 call from a man who was in the process of chasing the suspects who had just broken into his truck. The caller was very excited and out of breath as he drove his vehicle at high-speed in pursuit of the suspects. Communications Officer Cochran repeatedly asked the caller to pull over and wait for responding officers; however the caller was adamant about not losing his personal property to thieves. Responding units eventually caught up to the suspects and the caller. The suspects pulled into a parking lot and fled on foot with the deputies and the caller running after them. After informing the caller of the dangers of his actions, Communications Officer Cochran convinced the caller to return to his vehicle. Deputies were able to apprehend both suspects without incident or injury to anyone. The caller recovered his $4,000 in stolen property.
In 2008, Nelda Dixie was commended for her excellent work and job knowledge when dispatching officers during a lengthy pursuit of a stolen vehicle. The chase spanned several counties and involved several police agencies. Thanks to Communications Officer Dixie’s precise updates and advisement of upcoming road hazards to the pursuing police vehicles, the suspect was apprehended and no employee was injured.
That same year, Communications Officer Dixie also garnered a second commendation for her tireless efforts in attempting to locate a disoriented, battered and injured victim who was dropped off along the side of a highway by his captives. With the use of road signs, landmarks and the coordination of the sirens of the responding units, Communications Officer Dixie was able to give an accurate location of the victim and get him medical attention.
The Telecommunicator of the Year Award is presented in recognition of a telecommunicator’s exemplary handling of specific telephone call for emergency assistance. Consideration is given to skills and knowledge exhibited in the areas of communication, leadership and the telecommunicator’s ability to respond to unusual or specific circumstances.
The Silent Hero Certification of Recognition is a noncompetitive award presented to a telecommunicator in recognition of his/her exceptional professionalism in the field of emergency communications. It also acknowledges the special contributions of telecommunicators whose daily performance is an inspiration and example to others.
WHO: HCSO Communication Officers Honored
WHAT: Texas NENA/CSEC Annual Conference Awards
WHEN: Wednesday, August 26
11:45 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
WHERE: Omni Houston Hotel
Houston, TX 77056