Dispatchers with the Citrus Heights and Elk Grove police departments, along with two quick-thinking youths they assisted in emergencies, will be recognized Thursday at the state Capitol as recipients of the California State 9-1-1 Heroes Awards.
They will be honored by lifestyle designer Kathy Ireland, the 9-1-1 for Kids international ambassador.
The awards program is intended to make the public aware of the exemplary efforts by dispatchers and youths in handling emergencies.
On April 17, Citrus Heights Police dispatcher Joel Guess received a 9-1-1 call made by 4-year-old Narayah Johnson using a cell phone. When Guess talked with Narayah and asked to speak to her parents, Narayah told him that her mother was sleeping and would not wake up.
Guess continued to talk with Narayah and ask additional questions to keep her calm until police arrived, according to a news release. When police reached the home, Narayah was asked to unlock the door to let police officers in to help her mother.
On May 25, 2010, Elk Grove Police Department dispatcher Lisa Dawson took a call from 15-year-old Sergio Chipain. He, his mother and two younger sisters had arrived home to find a family member at the house in violation of a restraining order. The suspect pointed a gun at the family as soon as they walked through the door.
Chipain quickly took his sisters upstairs, then returned to help his mother. His mother handed him her cell phone to call 911, but when he tried to place the call, the suspect said, "Don't call or I'll shoot you," according to the news release.
A few minutes later, Chipain was able to dial 911 without the suspect knowing it. He left the line open on the stairs so that the dispatcher could hear what was happening. The call was transferred to the Elk Grove Police Department, where Dispatch Supervisor Lisa Dawson immediately dispatched emergency personnel.
In addition to the Sacramento-area honorees, public safety dispatchers with the California Highway Patrol's Stockton and Bishop communication centers will be recognized.
On Jan. 23, Stockton CHP dispatcher Jennifer Abel received a 911 call from a male suspect. The youth was crying and threatening to take his life by jumping off an overpass. Abel expressed empathy for his situation and kept him engaged until units could reach his location and intervene. The boy eventually was detained without incident.
On Feb. 11, Bishop CHP dispatcher Richard Seaver received a wireless call from an 8-year-old girl who reported that her father was ill and unresponsive. The girl also said that her family had just moved to a new apartment. Seaver was able to help the girl remain calm and provide as much information as she could about her location.
Thursday's awards ceremony will take place at 10:30 a.m. on the south steps of the state Capitol.