Bailey named 911 dispatcher of the year

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 21, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

The general public may not know of the poise under pressure that is needed to function inside the telecommunications room where 911 dispatchers do their work. Callers don’t see the emergency response team when it snaps to attention as their console lights up, indicating assistance is immediately needed.

Sergeant J.J. Marx, supervisor of the &uot;radio room&uot; in the telecommunications division of Suffolk Police, said decisions the emergency responders make must come in rapid-fire order. But at the same time, they must be made with knowledge and the compassion necessary to deal with a caller that may be hysterical under great stress.

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Communications officers, Marx added, must handle every call with strict professionalism, making critical decisions that could make the difference between life and death within seconds. He also said that Suffolk’s team of dedicated professionals recently joined thousands of 911 emergency responders across the nation taking part in &uot;National Public Safety Telecommunications Week.&uot;

The &uot;911 Emergency Communications&uot; operators ended the week-long observance Saturday night with their annual banquet in Chesapeake. During that formal event, C. Randy Bailey, Suffolk’s &uot;Dispatcher of the Year,&uot; was recognized for his professionalism, humanitarianism, and for being one of the &uot;good guys.&uot;

Bailey, a seven-year veteran of the Communications Division of Suffolk Police, was also honored last week by the entire team of coworkers. They feted him with a huge luncheon and there was plenty of praise from his counterparts in the 911 office. Marx, along with Roz Britt, Bailey’s immediate supervisor had nominated Bailey as Dispatcher of the Year.

&uot;The luncheon here is something that I do each year to show my appreciation for the phenomenal job they do,&uot; said Marx. &uot;So much is expected of these people and they are never recognized by the public for the services they provide. People do not realize these are the people with whom you first come into contact. Randy is a good fellow and you have to admire a man who can get in there and do the job he does. Not everyone can do the job these people do and Randy is one of the best.&uot;

Marx added that in his opinion, each of his dispatchers is deserving of an award.

As for Britt, she also has great faith in Bailey’s abilities. &uot;Randy is like a brother to all of us, but he’s also extremely professional,&uot; she said. &uot;I’ve known Randy for a long time and he’s truly a good person…a good coworker. He’s my friend who’s always been there for me, even when I had surgery in January.

&uot;Typical of his style, he came to my house and shoveled the snow and ice for me so that I wouldn’t slip and fall. He does so much. He’ll help out anyone at anytime.&uot;

The newest member of the emergency response team, Elaine Griffin, has even noted Bailey’s dedication to duty.

&uot;He’s always extremely concerned for the firefighters or police officers he assists,&uot; said the dispatcher. &uot;He keeps track of where they are and how they are at every moment they are on a call. He always wants to know they are safe. He’s the same way with the public he serves.&uot;

As for Bailey, he’s married to Kelly, and they have a set of twins, Cal and Cole, five years old; and two daughters, Lauryn, three, and Maghan, one. Kelly is a surgical assistant at Maryview Hospital, and her husband works &uot;mid-nights.&uot; Typical of his giving nature, Randy is quick to add, they couldn’t do it without the babysitting services provided by his mother, Dorothy Bailey. His father is the late George Bailey. He also has a brother, George Bailey, in Lititz, Pa.

&uot;Dad used to stay with the children,&uot; Bailey added. &uot;Mama stays with them and their Aunt Frances, Kelly’s mom, or Kari Harrell also stay with them. Our kids are always with some member of the family… never without family.&uot;

Bailey is a 1985 graduate of John F. Kennedy High School and earned a four-year degree in photography from Virginia Intermont College. He worked for a photography studio and was once a staff photographer for the News-Herald. It was during his time with the News-Herald that he became involved with the Nansemond-Suffolk Volunteer Rescue Squad. His volunteer service as an emergency responder prepared him for his career as a 911 dispatcher.

&uot;I just want to give something back to the community,&uot; he explained. &uot;I enjoy helping people. I’m also trying to give back through volunteering and I do that by serving as a community representative and leader for the Emergency Management Services and a member of leadership for Tidewater Emergency Medical Services. My family and I also attend Wilroy Baptist Church.&uot;

In his &uot;spare time,&uot; Bailey is &uot;ate up with baseball.&uot; He is the first to admit that he’s a die-hard Baltimore Orioles fan.

&uot;Just ask any of my coworkers and they’ll tell you,&uot; he added. &uot;I work with a great bunch of ladies and we’re like a brother and sisters without the sibling rivalry.&uot;