Awards

The HRECC takes pride in the work produced by this staff of professionals. Employees are awarded for jobs well done and for acts that require extraordinary measures. Every member of the HRECC works daily to keep our community and public safety responders safe. Be sure to thank a Communicator!

2017 Team Awards

Outstanding Performance by a Team-AMBER Alert

Outstanding Performance by a Team-Mass Casualty

On June 22, 2017 the HRECC received a “be on the lookout” message for an abducted child from Smith County, VA.  This message was part of a full-scale Amber Alert activation.  During the investigation, the Virginia State Police received information on a possible destination of the suspect in this abduction and HRECC night shift supervisor, Chad Siever, prepared his shift for the possibility that the suspect could be traveling through the I-81 corridor.  
As the night progressed information was received that the suspect was close to Harrisonburg and Rockingham County and the ECC advised local law enforcement of this information and they quickly moved into positions along the Interstate to attempt to intercept the suspect vehicle.  The shift of Communicators on duty in the ECC were waiting on additional information from the State Police about the suspect’s exact location.  When this information was delayed due to the complexity of the multi-jurisdiction event, the shift of Communicators on duty, under the direction of the Shift Supervisor, utilized their own investigative dispatching techniques which ultimately provided the exact location of the suspect at that given time.  This information was quickly relayed to field personnel by the ECC and a law enforcement unit from the Bridgewater Police Department was in that immediate area.  Seconds later that unit advised via radio that he had located the suspect’s vehicle.  Within minutes he advised that he had taken the suspect into custody and the child was located unharmed.   

This is a great example of how the HRECC works collectively with all members of local and statewide emergency services personnel to provide the highest level of service to our citizens and to do all they can to keep our community….and those passing through it, safe.  If not for the proactive approach by the shift of communicators working, the actual location of the suspect may not have been found in time for Bridgewater to intercept them.  

Great job to the HRECC’s “D” shift personnel for their proactive dispatching and teamwork during this event.  Thanks to their work, a child went home safe…

Chief Joe Simmons from the Bridgewater Police Department assisted in presenting certificates for this great performance.

      • Shift Supervisor Chad Siever

      • Senior Communicator Robin Lambert

      • Senior Communicator Laurie White

      • Senior Communicator April Lantz

      • Senior Communicator J D Duncan

      • Senior Communicator Brittany Sheffer

      • Senior Communicator Sarah Thompson

On February 5, 2017 the ECC received an initial call for service reporting disorderly conduct at the 7-11 Convenience Store on Mason Street.  At the time of this incident the ECC was running at minimum staffing (which was then 6 Communicators) and the newly promoted Master Communicator on-duty had been released from the supervisory training program for just over a month.  There were only 3 personnel working on this shift that were released to solo-assignment in all of the three ECC specialties.  

It didn’t take long for those working to realize this incident would become a large scale event with a total of 6 patients transported to medical facilities and 4 medevac requests.  The amount of apparatus and resources ultimately dispatched to this scene equated to that of a level 1 mass casualty incident.  The event also was later reclassified as a homicide.  

Despite the lack of previous experience at the time, this shift worked together in order to meet the demands of this large scale, high-priority event and to locate the resources required to provide the care needed.  The manner in which this shift came together as a team during this event is a true example of how teamwork can achieve greatness in this line of work.  Thanks to everyone working during this event for stepping up and doing what it takes to get the job done.  Congratulations to B shift for their efforts on this date.  

Deputy Chief Steve Morris assisted in presenting these certificates recognizing the B shift team.

        • Master Communicator Alyssa Hottinger

        • Senior Communicator Julia Nixon

        • Senior Communicator Stephanie Duncan

        • Senior Communicator Leslie Gillespie

Congratulations to our 2017 Team Award Winners

2017 Communicator of the Year

Carenda Strawderman
Carenda StrawdermanSenior Communicator

Annually, the HRECC awards one Communicator our highest honor.  The HRECC Communicator of the Year is a prestigious award earned by an employee who excelled in all areas of operation during the previous year.  This award is given annually during National Telecommunicator’s Week, and is selected from nominations submitted by other ECC employees.  The highest honor one can earn is to be recognized for their excellence by those they stand shoulder to shoulder with during the most difficult of times.

This year’s award recipient received the highest number of nominations in ECC history.  This alone speaks volumes for the respect and admiration their peers have for them and the job they do everyday.

After being hired by the ECC, they worked diligently to commit guidelines to memory, learn the “right” way of doing things and were quickly released in all specialties of operation.  It didn’t take long for this employee to become a “go-to” person for other personnel and to be well-respected by those in the field.

Our recipient is intelligent, respectful of others and has a work ethic that exceeds that of most anyone I know.  Their supervisor describes them as a problem solver and someone who can think outside the box to come up with a simple solution that keeps the ECC running.  They are quick learning, quick thinking and quick acting.

Our recipient is ready for any task and never complains about her assignment for the day.  One letter of nomination noted how she is always willing to help others and another mentioned how she comes to work each day always radiating positivity.  She was described as having strong and ethical values, being supportive of her co-workers and working as a team player.  Another nomination noted her as a go-to person for questions and someone always there to lend a hand.

From a management standpoint, this is obviously the type of employee we love to have as part of our team and this person didn’t waste any time in taking the next step in her career when she applied for an ECC trainer’s position.  During the multi-faceted selection process it wasn’t hard to see how much passion and hard work this employee puts into the HRECC and every task she undertakes.  She was selected as an ECC trainer and since that time has served professionally in that role offering knowledge to others while continuing to build her own knowledge and setting her trainees up for success.

She is not only respected by those who work with her each day but she is respected by all members of the ECC.  Her dedication and innovation was not more commonly noted than when an ECC console riser broke last year and our employee took it upon herself to saw and cut a board to fit the console and brought her makeshift keyboard desk with her to work so no one would have to suffer and wait until the repair company could get it fixed.  Obviously with that story everyone who works in the ECC knows who our COTY is going to be.

Senior Communicator Carenda Strawderman is a true example to all 9-1-1 professionals.  She graduated from Virginia Tech and worked several jobs prior to applying for a Communicator position in the ECC.  “I have found my career,” Carenda said in a testimonial she submitted for use on the ECC website.  “To me it’s not a job.  I look forward to coming to work each day knowing I will help many people and make a difference in someone’s life, she added.”

Emergency Communications Center Receives National Re-Accreditation Award

Harrisonburg, VA – On Saturday, November 18, 2017 the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Emergency Communications Center (HRECC) was awarded National Re-Accreditation for Communications Centers from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA)

 In August 2017, the HRECC underwent an accreditation on-site review by a team of certified CALEA assessors.  As a result of this extensive review, the HRECC was recommended for re-accreditation and appeared before the CALEA Commission on November 18th in Jacksonville, Florida for a final examination of its operation and was awarded re-accreditation status.

 “CALEA is the largest internationally recognized accreditation body for law enforcement and communications centers” said Jim Junkins, Director of the HRECC.  “This award is a highly prized recognition and the HRECC is one of only nine CALEA accredited emergency communications centers in Virginia and one of only 91 in the United States.”

CALEA accreditation is for four years, during which an agency must submit to an annual assessment confirming continued compliance with standards under which it is initially accredited.  The HRECC first gained accreditation in 2011 and this is its third accreditation award.

 Dee Dee Sencindiver, HRECC Accreditation Program Manager and Operations Manager stated, “Accreditation makes the HRECC a more professional agency and sets standards by which we operate on a daily basis.  It strengthens our core values and challenges us to continue to excel in all areas of our performance.”

 

Life Changing Performance

Please join the staff of the HRECC as we congratulate Shift Supervisor Ryan Pollard on his performance in providing emergency medical dispatching instructions to a woman in childbirth.  In August of 2017 Ryan received a phone call for a woman who was actively in labor.  He provided step by step instructions to her husband who ultimately assisted in the delivery of the baby.

Thanks to Ryan’s calm demeanor and approach to the situation, a healthy baby and mother were transported to the hospital and a new life was saved.

Congratulations Supervisor Pollard!

2016 Communicator of the Year

Kenzie Herring
Kenzie Herring Master Communicator

The Harrisonburg-Rockingham Emergency Communications Center (HRECC) held its annual awards ceremony yesterday, which coincided with National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week.

The HRECC recognized a number of employees, including three Communicators who were honored for their work in administering life-saving, pre-arrival instructions through the use of emergency medical dispatching (EMD) during 2016.

As part of that ceremony, the HRECC selected Master Communicator Kenzie Herring as the 2016 Communicator of the Year. Herring has been employed by the ECC since 2013 and she “embodies the pillars of ECC operation with her professionalism, accountability, consistency, excellence, teamwork and pride,” said Dee Dee Sencindiver, operations manager.

“Kenzie makes her work in the ECC a priority,” added Jim Junkins, director of emergency communications.

Herring was very familiar with public safety when she began her career in emergency communications. She grew up with a family heavily involved in law enforcement and has a true understanding of the importance her role plays for the public safety responders and the community.

Members of the ECC administration were joined by Kenzie’s father, retired Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Craig Herring, her grandfather, retired Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office Major Nelson Herring and her grandmother, retired Rockingham County Records Supervisor Marie Herring in the presentation of this award.

Congratulations Kenzie

Outstanding Performance by a Team – Ice Apocalypse

On December 17, 2016 the City and County was hit with an unexpected ice event that covered our communities in an ice coating that caused the workload of the ECC, and all of public safety, to explode.

As the community woke to a thin coating of ice covering most all roadways, sidewalks and more, employees of the ECC began to deal with this unforeseen situation.

Between 4 AM and 9 AM on this date, the ECC handled 132 calls for service, 606 telephone transactions and 12,997 radio push to talks. This is 4 times the normal ECC work activity.

Roads were in severe condition and in some cases, impassable. There were crashes throughout the Interstate, the City and an 8 car pile-up on Port Republic Road.

Throughout that event both the night shift and day shift of the ECC worked to ensure that all calls were handled appropriately while knowing they too must make their way to work, or from work, safely as well. Many comments of thanks and commendation were received after the event including one comment that stuck out to us from a field provider who said, “Great job in there. They amaze me every time something like this happens.” Today we want to recognize those employees involved in this event. These include both night shift and day shift personnel working during this timeframe, along with several trainees who quickly learned how hectic life can get as an ECC Communicator. The ECC recognizes those employees who worked hard to ensure this event was handled to the best of their abilities:

Chad Siever

Kenzie Herring

Robin Lambert

Laurie White

Fawn Ammons

April Lantz

Brittany Wampler

Tonya Keller

Spencer Dean

Andre Miller

Bridgette Spitler

Paul Huddle

Julia Nixon

Carenda Strawderman

Heather Conley

Emily Gordon

Mollie Mace

Leslie Barb

Outstanding Performance by a Team-Radio Failure

On the evening of October 27th, 2016 at around 5:30 PM, the ECC received a radio alarm from the CSD console. Near simultaneous with the alarm was a partial failure of all law enforcement and Fire and Rescue radios.   Radio maintenance personnel were already working on the radio system so other command staff notifications were made and ECC Communicators on-duty were quick to react with back up radios and completing radio checks with field personnel to ensure that communication was available with all field personnel.

During this event both Senior Communicator Paul Huddle and Senior Communicator Andrew Kniss were instrumental in assisting the on-duty supervisor, Brittany Wampler, in ensuring that all consoles had radios that were forced to both the mountain and valley systems.

While this radio problem was a significant event, the Communicators working displayed a teamwork approach towards all the adversity and were able to continue operating despite the problems.

Thanks to the dayshift and night shift personnel for their work during this event.

Days

MC Brittany Wampler

SC Andre Miller

SC Bridgette Spitler

SC Paul Huddle

SC Carenda Strawderman

BC Heather Conley

BC Mollie Mace

SC Andrew Kniss

Nights

Supervisor Chad Siever

SC Robin Lambert

SC Laurie White

SC Liz Bechtel

SC April Lantz

BC Hunter Edge

BC Leslie Barb

Outstanding Performance during a High Priority Incident

The ECC operates under a teamwork approach to every task, but sometimes, due to call load and workload, a Communicator must act on their own, take charge and ensure that all tasks are complete to make a situation successful. Today we recognize and outstanding personal performance by a Communicator.

On December 24th, 2016 the ECC received a call for a structure fire on Spotswood Trail in Elkton. The building had several apartments all of which were involved with the fire. This event had multiple victims, included not only the structure but also vehicles on fire and the ECC was working at minimum staffing of 6 Communicators.

Senior Communicator Christina Adams was serving as a F/R trainer when this call was received and due to the extreme nature of the event, she immediately took over the call and became the F/R radio operator. From the onset of the event Communicator Adams was on top of her game ensuring that outside agencies were patched to other responders and offering talkgroup ideas to the scene commander so he didn’t have that burden in addition to his own duties.

This incident quickly progressed to a 4th alarm and Adams did the vast majority of her own toning and filling quarters for the escalation. While this isn’t the ideal method, minimum staffing had other personnel handling additional tasks and calls which also needed attention.

When all was said and done it was realized that Christina had basically utilized nearly every resource she had available and had been able to effectively tone, track, monitor and maintain a status of everyone on this scene.

This truly is not the way most of us spend Christmas Eve but this is a great example of the dedication of public safety personnel. Thanks to Christina for her efforts on this date.

Congratulations to Our Staff

Shift Supervisor Chad Siever

Basic Communicator Mollie Mace

Senior Communicator Paul Huddle

Part-time Senior Communicator Spencer Dean

Master Communicator Brittany Wampler

Senior Communicator April Lantz

Senior Communicator Fawn Ammons

Basic Communicator Leslie Barb

Senior Communicator Liz Bechtel

Senior Communicator Robin Lambert

Senior Communicator Laurie White

Promotions

Alyssa Hottinger
Alyssa Hottinger Senior Communicator

Alyssa began her career in emergency communications in 2011 and since that time has excelled in all aspects of her job. She currently serves as a certified training officer providing high level instruction to newly hired ECC employees and she is a member of the Telecommunications Emergency Response Team (TERT) and the Virginia Communications Cache.

Alyssa was named the 2015 HRECC Communicator of the Year for her unselfish approach to her job and the high level of service she provides to the citizens and public safety providers in our area.

As Master Communicator, Hottinger will serve as the assistant shift supervisor of her assigned shift and will provide daily oversight to her group of employees.

“We are very proud to have Alyssa as a part of our management team,” said Jim Junkins, HRECC Director.

“Alyssa will bring a great attitude and new ideas to this position,” added Dee Dee Sencindiver Operations Manager.

Hottinger’s promotion is effective October 30, 2016.

Jake Guinn
Jake GuinnECC Technician
Ryan Pollard
Ryan PollardECC Supervisor
Kenzie Herring
Kenzie Herring Master Communicator

Commendations

Kenzie Herring
Kenzie Herring

The employees of the Harrisonburg Rockingham Emergency Communications Center appreciate the effort and consideration the concerned citizens who take time to commend our employee performance.

 

Please join the staff of the HRECC in congratulating Part-time Senior Communicator Xan Stevens for her actions of February 24, 2016. Xan’s quick thinking and compassionate nature aided her in offering pre-arrival medical instructions for a 2 year old child that had experienced a seizure and stopped breathing. Xan talked the caller through CPR instructions, and prior to responders arriving on the scene, the child could be heard making noises in the background and was again breathing on its own.
“Having an employee like Xan, who is able to remain calm in these situations is priceless for the ECC and the community,” said Dee Dee Sencindiver, Operations Manager.
Stevens is one of the most veteran employees of the HRECC having started her career in emergency communications in December of 1994. “Her value to this workplace is unmatched” added Sencindiver. Congratulations to Xan on having a direct impact in saving a life!

Xan Stevens
Xan Stevens

Public Safety Communications Accreditation

 

The HRECC strives to provide the highest level of service to all citizens and public safety providers. In order to measure its services against the best of the best, the HRECC has chosen to undergo voluntary accreditation status through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies and the Virginia Office of Emergency Medical Services. The continued compliance with the best practices standards set forth by these accreditation bodies ensures the HRECC continues to strive for excellence in all realms of emergency communications.

In November of 2011, the HRECC was awarded National accreditation status through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA). In November of 2014, the HRECC received re-accreditation status and continues to operate using the national standards of CALEA as a roadmap by which to measure its success.

CALEA is the largest internationally recognized accreditation body for law enforcement and communications centers. This award is a highly prized recognition and the HRECC is one of only eight CALEA accredited emergency communications centers in the Virginia and one of only 82 in the United States.

Accreditation is awarded for three years, during which an agency must submit annual reports attesting continued compliance with standards under which it was initially accredited.
Accreditation makes the HRECC a more professional agency and challenges us to excel in our core values of integrity, innovation, stewardship and learning. It provides additional credibility to an excellent emergency communications system and measures our work against the best of the best.

The Emergency Medical Dispatcher is a trained public safety Communicator with additional training and specific emergency medical knowledge essential for assessment of medical emergencies and limited remote treatment and apportionment of medical priorities. The EMD functions under the medical authority of an off-line medical director to receive and manage calls for emergency medical assistance through the systematic interrogation of callers, using procedures established by the off-line medical director who remains responsible for medical quality assurance of the EMD program.

The HRECC is trained and certified to offer caller with medical pre-arrival instructions that can often aid in saving a life.