Illinois Tollway recognizes Dispatch CAD team as its Emergency Communicators of the Year
Public safety dispatchers are often called the unsung heroes in headsets. They’re the calm voice in the dark. The thin gold line that connects the bold red and blue lines representing firefighters and police.
They are the first voice you hear when you call 911 for emergency assistance and they play a critical role in helping people in times of urgent need.
The Illinois Tollway each year recognizes its telecommunicators for their vital contributions to public safety on its roadways and in the communities it serves as part of National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, which runs this year on April 9-15.
“Illinois Tollway telecommunicators offer calm and confident service during times when our customers need it most, and we appreciate the hard work they do,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Cassaundra Rouse. “They play a critical role by coordinating information and emergency services to ensure help is on the way, and we are thankful for their service.”
In addition, this year, the Tollway is recognizing its entire computer-aided dispatch team as its “Gold Line Team Members of the Year.” In addition to their main responsibilities of answering 911 calls for emergencies on the Tollway system, CAD staff has been training other Dispatch staff on a new, upgraded dispatch system since January.
The new system has additional capabilities, including the ability to pinpoint the location of cellphones used to make calls to 911, which will improve accuracy and response times for first responders. The CAD team was responsible for learning the new system and teaching other telecommunicators how to use it before its “go-live” date later in April 2023.
The CAD team includes Call Taker Shannon Holbert, Telecommunicators C.J. Ruiz and Bryan Walston, as well as Dispatch Supervisor Capers Funnye.
“The Illinois Tollway and its Dispatch team appreciate the hard work, professionalism and dedication of the CAD team as they continue to train staff on the use of our new CAD system,” said Tollway Dispatch Manager Craig Lundt.
“On more than one occasion, their coworkers have come into my office – unsolicited – to pay a compliment about one of the CAD team members. They talked about how well they instruct the class or their patience in explaining a procedure on using the updated system. They do extraordinary work day in and day out, but their efforts these past several months have been nothing short of incredible.”
Illinois Tollway Dispatch employs approximately 24 public safety telecommunicators and call takers responsible for providing reliable emergency communications 24/7/365 for Roadway Maintenance and Illinois State Police Troop 15, the special troop that patrols the 294-mile Tollway system. Telecommunicators answer calls relayed from local 911 centers and work in coordination with the Tollway Traffic Operations Center to communicate information to frontline responders.
Last year, Tollway telecommunicators handled more than 150,000 calls for assistance, from helping motorists involved in crashes, to medical situations to traffic stops and roadway maintenance. Tollway Dispatch handle calls from throughout the 12 counties the Tollway services, making it one of the busiest emergency dispatch centers in Illinois.
Can you be the voice of calm in even the most traumatic situations? Can you maintain your composure and direct others in the midst of chaos? You may have what it takes to be a public safety dispatcher. If so, we invite you to fill out a job interest card to work for the Illinois Tollway.