Every year, there’s a week set aside to bring special attention to a group of first responders who often go unnoticed, but who play a crucial role in our public safety operations – our dispatchers! April 14-20, 2024, was National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week (NPSTW) and through the week, we celebrated these folks who are our FIRST first responders. Here’s a look at how we recognized our dispatchers and other City of Philadelphia telecommunications teams.


2024 Dispatchers of the Year Ceremony at the Fireman’s Hall Museum. We’re proud to recognize Kelci Gray-Henderson and Rhasheeda Larue for their dedication. Commissioner Craig Murphy, Managing Director Adam Thiel, and PFD Historical Corporation President Gene Janda presented each woman with an award on Thursday, April 18. They also received the Distinguished Service Award from Local 1637.

Kelci has been with us for five years, and said she joined because her mom is a police officer, and she also wanted a career helping people. Kelci was nominated for always being helpful to supervisors, colleagues, trainees, and callers.

Rhasheeda has been with the PFD for 20 years. That’s two decades of being a leader among her colleagues and helping them grow and develop in the profession. She’s known for being a shining spot in the office who approaches every task with enthusiasm. Rhasheeda says she’s proud to be in a career where she gets to help people every day.

Mayoral proclamation: The Philadelphia Fire Department (PFD) joined other agencies for a recognition ceremony featuring a mayoral proclamation in the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) radio room on Wednesday, April 17. The Office of Emergency Management (OEM), PPD, and 311 were all recognized for not only answering 911 calls, but also for other crucial telecommunications work.

“Let’s Talk Safety” on WURD Radio: Our monthly show featured three telecommunicators who talked about their journeys on Saturday, April 13. Our first guest was Kate Hartigan from OEM, who is an Emergency Management Liaison Officer, or EMLO. The EMLO provides on-scene and remote response to emergency incidents and planned events, representing OEM and coordinating response agencies. They monitor our Regional Intelligence Center (RIC), which is OEM’s 24/7 watch desk and share important public safety information with partner agencies. Kate also used to be a PPD dispatcher.

Our two other guests were Assistant Chief Dispatcher Tyaisha Brown and Dispatcher Katreese Floyd from the Fire Communications Center.

Tyaisha just celebrated her 20-year anniversary with the PFD. She’s passionate about what she does and takes great pride in helping people, often in the midst of a crisis. Tyaisha says helping people comes naturally to her from what she’s been through in her life. She also took a moment to praise Katreese for her calm demeanor and commended her for how well she handles the immense stress of the job.

Katreese will reach her five-year mark as a dispatcher in May. She came to this profession after seeing it for most of her life – her mother has been a PPD dispatcher for 17 years. Katreese is also a mom of two.

While this week was dedicated to our dispatchers, we thank our telecommunicators for being a stabilizing presence for those in need all year round.

Learn about what it means to be a dispatcher and how to apply.