CUMBERLAND — Allegany County recognized three 911 dispatchers as part of 911 Emergency Number Day.
Dispatcher Mark Karalewitz was named the 2020 Dispatcher of the Year, according to Allegany County Department of Emergency Services Joint Communications Chief Bryan Miller.
“Mark has been presented this award twice in the 14 years we have been honoring our communication center staff ... in addition to several other recognitions and awards,” Miller said.
The 2020 Chief’s Award, given by Miller to a dispatcher that works to promote the 911 center, was presented to Abbey Bevan.
“Abbey has volunteered several times over the past year to move shifts to avoid having her co-workers forced to move,” Miller said.
Also recognized was dispatcher James Dudley, who received the Bill “Big Dog” Lamberson Memorial Award. The award was established in 2012 after the death of longtime dispatcher Bill Lamberson.
“Citizens often forget the professionals on the other end of the line are trained specialists and make sure the appropriate resources are getting to your emergency,” Miller said. “Our staff are the first emergency services contact that callers get during a crisis. They have to be calm, reassure and get the correct information to pass along to the first responders.”
The Allegany County Joint Communication Center has been answering emergency calls since 1975.
In 2019, the center processed nearly 170,000 calls, including 40,000 emergency calls, nearly 27,000 calls for the Cumberland Police Department and nearly 5,000 for the Allegany County Sheriff’s Office and conducted over 19,000 hospital consults with EMS providers in Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties.
The center not only processes emergency calls, they assist in taking calls for Maryland State Police, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Maryland State Medical Examiner’s Office, Maryland State Highway Administration, Allegany County Sheriff’s Office, Cumberland Police Department, Allegany County Roads and Utilities, Cumberland Street Department, Cumberland Water Department, Allegany County Department of Social Services, Adult and Child Protective Services and C3I Criminal and Narcotic Investigations, according to Miller.