A Message from Coral Springs Chief Clyde Parry
A couple of pranksters broke into our police station and stole all of the toilets in our bathrooms. A spokesperson for the City told reporters, “The police have nothing to go on.” April 1 is April Fool’s Day, and that was my poor attempt at an April Fool’s joke. Please forgive me.
From April 10 through April 16, we will celebrate National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. We are blessed to have one of the finest dispatch centers in the country. As many of you know, we are expanding our services to dispatch for the City of Coconut Creek beginning in October of this year.
Dispatching is an extremely difficult job. Over the years, I have come to understand the emotional toll the job can have on our employees. Nothing emphasized that point more than the tragedy at MSD over four years ago. That is why I support the effort to reclassify our public safety telecommunicators as first responders. Florida’s SB 1224 attempted to do just that. Unfortunately, the bill died in the community on April 30, 2021.
During National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, we will remember the tough times with reverence. We will also celebrate the victories that prove that our dispatchers are truly “First Responders.”
On May 22, 2021, Telecommunicator Emilie Atchison received a 911 call from a desperate mother who advised that her son was on the floor and not responsive. “What should I do?” the mother pleaded. Emilie talked the mother through a full round of CPR chest compressions, calmly counting off each pump.
This was a stress-filled call, but Emilie remained calm. This was especially impressive because, at the time, Emilie was a dispatch trainee. Emilie was filled with joy when the mother relayed to her, “He’s up – he’s taking a breath!” Emilie saved a life that day. You can hear the audio here:
These types of calls occur more often than most people think. On September 9, 2021, Telecommunications Supervisor Melissa Ayres received the 9-1-1 Public Safety Telecommunicator of the Year Award from the Florida Department of Health’s Emergency Medical Service Section.
Melissa received a 911 call from a 14-year-old girl in Parkland advising that her mom was not breathing. Melissa initiated a call and then proceeded to instruct the girl on how to perform CPR. As Melissa instructed the young girl on how to do chest compressions, the mother began to breathe on her own.
Her life was saved by what we like to call “our first, first responders.” So, during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week and every day, I will celebrate our dispatchers and thank them for all they do. It is my hope that someday soon, our elected officials will give them the “First Responder” designation they so richly deserve.
I recently attended the unveiling of the “Spirit of Caring” art piece that was erected in the roundabout at the main entrance of Broward Health Coral Springs Hospital. Jared Smith, the Chief Executive Officer at Broward Health Coral Springs, hosted the event that was well attended.
The Statue was erected to honor the seventeen precious lives taken, the survivors, the community, and all of those affected during the MSD tragedy. As I listened to the speakers and watched the unveiling, the emotions of that day came pouring over me.
My thoughts traveled back to what occurred that horrible day. And, as always, my thoughts turned toward the families. My heart goes out to them. I am amazed by their strength and their desire to make schools safer and our world a better place.
I thank Jared Smith and all of those from Broward Health Coral Springs for all they did the day of the tragedy and all they continue to do for our community. This art piece was well done. I continue to pray for all the families who lost a loved one and everyone working hard to overcome the events of that day. I admire your strength and hope you find peace and comfort.
Please stay connected to our department through Facebook, Twitter (@CoralSpringsPolice), and NextDoor.com to learn about crime trends, road closures, and other information affecting our community. If you have not already, please connect with me on Facebook @ChiefParry.
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