APSO 911 Dispatcher, Deputy Erica Michel, was honored on Monday, April 3, at the annual Louisiana Association of Public Safety Communication Officials (APCO) and National Emergency Number Association (NENA) Conference in Bossier City.
During the opening ceremonies, Deputy Michel was presented with the Telecommunicator of the Year Award by the Louisiana Chapters of APCO and NENA. This award is presented to the public safety telecommunicator who demonstrates the highest levels of personal and professional conduct in the line of duty.
Deputy Michel exhibited great courage, foresight, and skill during the Great Flood of 2016. Even as she realized her own home was quickly being overtaken by flood waters, she was able to maintain her professionalism and composure while continuing to answer the non-stop radio traffic and the relentless flow of 911 calls from scared citizens. She stayed focused and never let the reality of her personal situation, including memories of her home flooding during Hurricane Katrina, affect her.
Amidst countless 911 calls from desperate citizens seeking higher ground, Deputy Michel answered the call from a man who heard a gunshot at his neighbor’s house. While speaking to Deputy Michel, the distraught caller discovered that his neighbor had committed a double murder and then shot himself. Deputy Michel was able to calm the man in order to get necessary information and continued to try to give aid to the victims. As would be expected, the condition of roadways due to flooding made this call for help difficult for responders to reach, but Deputy Michel was unwavering and maintained contact with the caller keeping him focused until help arrived to the scene.
Deputy Michel has been a member of the 911 Communications team for almost 3 years. She has earned her certification as an Emergency Medical Dispatcher and certified in CPR. In 2016, she became certified as an APCO Communications Training Officer.
Deputy Michel’s commitment to public service and her dedication to personal growth and teamwork in the fast-paced and ever-changing world of 911 Communications are invaluable and irreplaceable. She is a shining example of the exceptional level of professionalism and service the community and the first responders have come to expect from the APSO.
Deputy Michel was proudly supported at the ceremony by her husband, Thomas, who is also an APSO deputy, and some of her supervisory staff.