Laurie Lyons – Vice President Candidate

It is with incredible pride that I write to this Association and Board members expressing my intention to be considered for the Vice President position for MCSA.

 I have been an active member of MCSA since its start.   This association was built years ago, by a group of volunteers who met in a small town in Western Mass, approx. 20 yrs ago, there was a teletype message that was sent out to the LEAPS terminals (CJIS) stating if any supv in the dispatch centers were interested, there would be a meeting to see how we could learn more about 911 and talk about how to better prepare departments to handle up and coming dispatch changes.   So a few of us went, we discussed trainings, we discussed 911, we discussed what it would be like if we had an academy like Police and Fire and got many of our staff all trained the same, used much of the same techniques in dispatching and give people a certificate of such training.  From there was born many meetings and planning and a group of dispatch supervisors volunteering their time – to teach at the Bunker for 911 and in Western Mass – we held a few days of training and for those instructors that were certified, we issued certificates for said classes.   This began regular meetings , regular trainings, all volunteer staff doing so, because we wanted to move our profession to where it is today and where we hope it will continue to be brought into the profession we know it is.   Where we are today, is because volunteers built this group, and now many departments have joined our organization, and we have an incredible talented group of people from all over the state that have permission from their departments to attend meetings, hold trainings, share peer information and support, help build policy and procedures that we all share with each other, we have never been a paid group, we never have a direct agenda of what to do next, we move with the state, the states demands, the dispatch problems of the state, the training changes with the state, grant writing, working closely with 911 department, meeting and building dispatchers and communication centers and supervisors all over the state, each year there can be a different motivation needed by the group, but it’s all for Dispatchers and Dispatch Centers.   Right now we are most proud of having a 911 Commission member on the 911 board – this is unheard of for any outside agency other than Fire/Police and we are incredibly proud of that.  We have great support from the state Fire and Police Chief’s associations and they know that MCSA is a group of professionals helping them build their centers, and they can call any of us for help, advice, policy’s etc.      Yes there may be a few bigger cities who may not need any assistance, may not have ever reached out to MCSA, have never sent staff to a training, maybe they have moving police supervisors who cover dispatch supervision and do not take the time to reach out to us as they have no need, maybe they have full funding all the time and are fortunate enough to not need help with grants or understanding the ever changing ways of 911 and dispatching, we applaud them, but not all departments are this lucky so we are here for everyone who may needs us, we are not APCO and we are not NENA but here in Massachusetts we are highly regarded for those who take the time to meet us!   We are regarded in the Fact that this huge legislation movement for Retirement which MCSA has been working on for 10 plus years, we are asked to speak on the issues and meet with many on the issues, as we are the staff effected by this bill, the daily work of our dispatchers, our centers, and many of us are still call takers ourselves.  Many House and Senate representatives have good communications with members of MCSA, maybe not all, but a good many do.  We try, we work hard, we do the best we can while maintaining our jobs as directors/supervisors/dispatchers/trainers.  It may not meet everyone’s needs but it is still a help to many and we will continue to do our very best in working with this profession, it is near and dear to us all.  Again we do not have to have a bigger plan, a bigger mission, each year our mission moves with the times, and trainings needed in the state, good speakers to motivate others, good trainings to help dispatch centers, sharing information where needed throughout the state, its not a change for us, we have always believed in helping dispatchers and their centers.  I am incredibly proud of who we are and what we have accomplished by a 20 year group of volunteers!  MCSA is reaching huge goals, we are good honest hard working individuals who believe in doing what we can to help, to be a voice for our state’s dispatch centers, because we all work in them or for them.  We understand the daily struggles of a center, funding issues, retention issues, and we continue to work with the State 911 department on a regular basis for the good of the profession.  We are receiving funds from state 911 grants, on the sole fight of this organization to build and account and pay for training and supplies in a dispatch center.  Many do not realize that MCSA was the driving force when we started our small trainings 20 years ago, and then the State 911 department took the training initiative and built an academy from our format – many of us still teach for this academy.  Our President has most usually, attended the Washington trip for 911 goes to Washington – to speak and learn about Federal initiatives and changes, our presidents have been met with great professional discussions, we have had the opportunity to sit in on some very important federal changes for our profession and as of recent we were invited back to speak and participate in the new #911Saves act being brought forward Federally and locally, at the presentation of the bill from Washington, Massachusetts was only represented by MCSA – and we were honored to speak with other prominent figure heads for our profession.

We have grown, we have many strong individuals who work with us, we learn from each and every one of them, We have had many leaders, many group members, who have done an incredible job helping us move forward and or just maintain this organization, I would think those involved would appreciate all the work of many , where we have come, and looking ahead it is hard to plan what the needs of dispatch will be.  Mostly our goals are for training and following the State and Federal changes in our profession and assisting and guiding those involved in making those decisions in a direction that is best for dispatchers and their centers.  We have taken requests from many, worked on issues, and supported where we can.

That being said, in the above very lengthy paragraph, my goals have always been to be a positive member of MCSA, I many not carry a lot of titles or certifications but I come from learning this job as a dispatcher from my home in 1995 – to my current status – Dispatch Director for the City of Gardner – I have 19 staff that I supervise and enjoy working with.  I am also still a call taker, fully certified in the state of Massachusetts.  I have always  been the Worcester County VP for MCSA – I coordinated many of our earlier years of yearly dispatch trainings, I have been on many committees and boards working in conjunction with many state agencies and MCSA.  I am involved in many city civic programs, I am the presenter of all 911 discussions for our department, I just successfully handled a full transition to Combined dispatch in our center for Police/Fire/EMS,  I am a CJIS Rep of 20 plus years, 911 Liaison,   APCO/NENA member, attend many conferences, I have many years of training certifications and I consider myself pretty easy to get along and I truly enjoy this profession.

My hope is to keep the tradition of MCSA moving forward in a goal to meet todays modern means of the profession and help others remember just how far we have come and how proud I am to be a part of this association.  It is a honor, at this time in my career, to be able to hold an officers position Thank you for your time and I look forward to continuing with MCSA and would appreciate your support!