Newtown 911 Dispatchers Honored

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ The dispatchers who fielded panicked phone calls during the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings Dec. 14 and helped coordinate the police response that day are being honored for their service.

The staff of the Newtown Emergency Communications Center was named recipient of the Outstanding 911 Call Center Award. An awards ceremony was scheduled Tuesday evening in Washington, when U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, whose district includes Newtown, were to present the award.

“Their swift action helped emergency personnel to act quickly, and reunite panicked parents and scared children. We are grateful for their service and are honored to present them with this award,” said Angel Arocho, chairman of the nonprofit NG9-1-1 Institute that is among the groups honoring the Newtown center.

Esty said Newtown’s dispatchers displayed professionalism and commitment to the community on the darkest of days and in the most difficult of circumstances.

“Newtown emergency call center dispatchers _ like other first responders _ well deserve this great recognition for their immense bravery and strength in the face of unspeakable tragedy,” Blumenthal said.

The 20-year-old gunman killed his mother inside their Newtown home before driving to the elementary school where he killed 20 first-graders and six staff members. He then committed suicide as police arrived.

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