Recognizing Tennessee’s Public Safety Heroes

Tuesday, April 06, 2021 | 12:00pm

I am proud Governor Bill Lee has proclaimed this week as Public Safety Telecommunicators Week in honor of all the selfless work our state’s 911 operators do every day to keep our first responders and citizens safe. If you ask the men and women who answer millions of 911 calls each year about their remarkable work, they will probably tell you they are just doing their job. However, the truth is they are helping to save many lives throughout our communities. With all the emergencies Tennessee has faced over the past year, from natural disasters to a global pandemic, I encourage Tennesseans to use this time to celebrate and thank those who dedicate their lives to serving the public. Our 911 telecommunicators are always there to answer the call and to provide service to their fellow citizens 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year.

Remember, emergencies can occur at any time. The prompt response of law enforcement, firefighters and paramedics are critical to the protection of life and preservation of property. The effectiveness of the response and safety of the responders is dependent upon the quality and accuracy of information obtained from citizens who call into 911 centers during an emergency situation. Public safety telecommunicators are the first line of response and are critical in providing emergency services and direction to Tennesseans when they need it most.

Public safety telecommunicators provide a vital link for our police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians by monitoring their activities via radio, providing them with critical information and helping ensure their safety when responding to calls. Telecommunicators have contributed to the apprehension of criminals, suppression of fires and treatment of patients across the Volunteer State. We are fortunate to have over 2,500 public safety dispatchers exhibiting true compassion, understanding and professionalism in the conduct of their duties every single day.

I am proud to serve as the Executive Director of the Tennessee Emergency Communications Board (TECB), which is a division of the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI). The board was created to assist emergency communications districts in the areas of management, operations and accountability. The TECB is proud to partner with our state’s 100 emergency communications districts to ensure Tennessee’s telecommunicators are among the best trained in the country. Last year, the TECB provided 1,784 hours of in-person training and 16,243 hours of online training to 1,767 professionals. I look forward to continuing the important work of providing quality training to telecommunicators as they continue their work of responding to crises while ensuring we maintain best-in-class training and preparedness.

The TECB recognizes the high-quality emergency communications services provided by our 911 call takers and dispatchers that serve Tennesseans every day. This week, we honor and commend Tennessee’s public safety telecommunicators for their professionalism and steadfast commitment to protecting the lives and property of Tennesseans.

For more information or questions about the role of the Tennessee Emergency Communications Board you can contact us at 615-253-2164, via fax at 615-401-7642 or by email at Please visit us online at

Curtis Sutton Serves as the Executive Director of the Emergency Communications Board at the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.