Monday, April 15, 2013

Dispatcher Wins Lifetime Achievement Award

Winning a lifetime achievement award says a lot, and on Friday April 12th, Overland Park Police Dispatch Supervisor, Anthony Bernal, received just such an award. He was honored by his peers during the Mid-America Regional Council’s (MARC) annual Telecommunicator Appreciation Celebration dinner.  

This year’s celebration brought to light the technological and organizational advances made in the field since the regional 9-1-1 system was launched in 1983 and honored those who have committed their lives to the field of public safety communications.

This year’s star was our own Anthony Bernal. He has been employed by the City of Overland Park in the Police Department since September of 1975.  In his early years, he worked as a Community Service Aide and as a police dispatcher.  He worked undercover assignments with the Investigations Division, assisted with hostage negotiation situations and volunteered for search & rescue missions.  He also played an integral role assisting the Information Technology Division in writing a new and innovative Computer Aided Dispatching program which drew nationwide attention and recognition.

Although his given name is Anthony, he is best known as “Tony.”  He projects a deep and easily recognized voice on the radio, and Tony became well known by his Dispatching peers throughout the Kansas City Metro area.  Almost all of us need to introduce ourselves by our first and last name when we call another agency, but not Tony.  On countless occasions he has placed a call and introduced himself simply as “Tony”.  He rarely, if ever, needs to say his last name.  His voice is unique and immediately recognizable.

Tony has not only been an integral part of the City of Overland Park but has been an active contributing member to Association of Public Safety Communication Officials (APCO).  Tony worked for the Kansas City Chiefs in an off-duty capacity operating the statistical field display computer during home games. 

During his 38-year tenure, Tony has accumulated a long list of complimentary letters and commendations from the public, from supervisory staff of the Police Department and members of the Governing Body.  Even though he has achieved great professional success, the relationships, friendships, and great memories are what he values most.  Everyone recognizes his hearty laugh, ear-to-ear smile, and big heart.

When Tony applied for Dispatch Supervisor in December of 1981, he wrote in his application letter to Chief Myron Scafe, “I would rather be respected as a leader than liked.”  He has conducted himself over the past 38 years in such a manner that Tony has achieved both.  Congratulations, Tony!