Texoma Council of Governments announced the award recipients from its annual Texoma Regional 9-1-1 Telecommunicators Banquet Friday. The event was hosted in Sherman by TCOG’s public safety staff this week, Executive Director Eric Bridges said.

A news release from TCOG said this year marks the 10th anniversary of the banquet in which TCOG makes a deliberate effort to express its gratitude and appreciation for 9-1-1 telecommunicators by highlighting the important role they play in public safety services.

“Telecommunicators are a particularly critical link between those in need of emergency services and those that provide emergency assistance,” Bridges said in the release. “They are often the first point of contact in moments of crisis. The Texoma region is fortunate to have such devoted and dedicated telecommunicators who truly are first responders.”

In 2019, Governor Greg Abbott signed a new law classifying 9-1-1 dispatchers and other public safety telecommunications professionals as first responders. This law went into effect on September 1.

Prior to this legislation, 9-1-1 telecommunicators were classified as secretaries. The law provides an opportunity to give dispatchers recognition alongside public safety services as well as providing them with access to benefits to help support their mental health.

The awards and recipients are as follows:

Silent Heroes:

Janet Simpson, Gainesville Police Department; Tamela Collins, Fannin County Sheriff’s Office; Kenady

Price, Grayson County Sheriff’s Office; Jamie Young, Denison Police Department; Kayla Sweet, Van

Alstyne Police Department; Cindy Woods, Bonham Police Department; Jerri Winnett, Whitesboro Police

Department; and Sara Patterson, Sherman Police Department.

Life Saving Award:

Laura Polmateer, Gainesville Police Department; Ronald Sadler, Fannin County Sheriff’s Office;

Rebecca Williams, Denison Police Department/Van Alstyne Police Department; Kayla Sweet, Van Alstyne Police Department; Rachelle Cheairs, Grayson County Sheriff’s Office; Brittnee Hielckert, Cooke County Sheriff’s Office; Amanda King, Cooke County Sheriff’s Office; and Leland Booher, Sherman Police Department

Team Award of Merit:

Audrey Baxter, Arthur Coker and Austin Sutterfield of the Sherman Police Department.

Supervisor of the Year:

Ivon Wood, Grayson County Sheriff’s Office.

Telecommunicator of the Year:

Ronald Sadler, Fannin County Sheriff’s Office.

In addition to the awards ceremony, the event featured keynote speaker, Dr. Joe Serio. Serio holds a PhD in Criminal Justice with a specialization in Leadership and Organizational Behavior from Sam Texoma Council of Governments | Eric M. Bridges, Executive Director | Honorable Jason Brinkley, President, Governing Board Houston State University. He is a popular and entertaining speaker who motivates and inspires his audiences while providing thought-provoking information.

The Texoma Council of Governments is a voluntary association of the local governments in Cooke, Fannin, and Grayson Counties. Established in 1968, the Texoma Council of Governments promotes economy and efficiency in the coordinated planning and development of the tri-county region through its community and economic development activities. Either directly, or through contractors, the Council provides housing, utility assistance, and weatherization services for low-income citizens in the region and assists the elderly through a variety of Area Agency on Aging programs. The Council also facilitates the delivery of grant funding for homeland security and criminal justice.