CALNENA recognizes Salas for his work on behalf of emergency first responders
SACRAMENTO – Today, the California Chapter of the National Emergency Number Association (CALNENA) and over 8,000 9-1-1 emergency dispatchers across the state of California, presented Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) with their first ever Legislator of the Year Award. This award was announced at CALNENA’s conference, which was held virtually, and was dedicated to Assemblymember Salas for his work authoring Assembly Bill (AB) 1945 last year, which recognized the heroic work of public safety dispatchers by reclassifying them as first responders.
“It is a great honor to be awarded Legislator of the Year by our brave emergency dispatchers whose tireless work keeps our families safe,” said Assemblymember Salas. “I want to thank CALNENA and all of our California dispatchers who have continued to work throughout the pandemic. I will continue advocating on behalf of our dispatch community who are truly the first responders to a crisis and the voices we can count on 24 hours a day to answer our calls for help.”
The passage of AB 1945 last year marked a historic victory for California dispatchers by reclassifying public safety dispatchers and telecommunicators as first responders. AB 1945, which was passed with bipartisan support, corrected the misclassification of the Federal government, which describes dispatchers as an “administrative” or “clerical” occupation and does not accurately describe the work of the dispatch community who undergo extensive training and whose work can mean the difference between life and death.
The idea for AB 1945 was originally brought to Assemblymember Salas by a local dispatcher from Kings County, Maribel Stinson, who received CALNENA’s Bill McMurray Award for service to the dispatch community.
“CALNENA is pleased to present Assemblymember Salas with our 2020 Legislator of the Year award for outstanding service to the 9-1-1 community and profession,” said Don Jones, CALNENA President. “Appropriate recognition of first responder status is a significant morale boost to 9-1-1 dispatchers who continue to battle the overwhelming stress of assisting Californians through the COVID pandemic, massive fires, shootings, personal medical emergencies, and so much more. 9-1-1 is truly the first link in the first responder chain, and we appreciate Assemblymember Salas leading the fight to provide this much needed acknowledgment.”
California dispatchers answer approximately 27 million 9-1-1 calls per year. Public safety dispatchers play a vital role in the state’s emergency response chain, which extends far beyond dispatching calls for peace officers and firefighters.
Assemblymember Salas represents part of the City of Bakersfield, the cities of Arvin, Hanford, Corcoran, Delano, Lemoore, McFarland, Shafter, Wasco, and the communities of Armona, Avenal, Buttonwillow, Home Garden, Kettleman City, Lamont, Lost Hills, Stratford and Weedpatch.