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Awards from Past Years
Telecommunicator of the Year
Sara Geiszler
Oneida County Sheriff's Department
Sara Geiszler comes to work early, usually toting a bag full of work projects she took home the night before (in case she had some spare time outsideof work to work on them). In the other hand, she’s often carrying a coffee carrier with several Styrofoam cups of piping hot coffee, maybe a bag or two of chips and any other thing that a co-worker may have asked for when Geiszler called to ask if anyone needed anything from Kwik Tripon her way in. She begins each day smiling, refreshed and eager to face new challenges; and all this, despite the fact that she just travelled an hour and 15 minutes (on a good day) to get to work. Geiszler has more than 22 years of experience in public safety with more than17 of those years being in a dispatch capacity--either at the Muskego Police Department, Mukwonago Police Departmentor currently at the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office. Geiszler has worked for the Oneida County Communications Center for just over two years. In 2015, she was promoted to Telecommunication’s Sergeant and also oversees the Communications Training Officer Program. She servesas a role model of individual commitment to a group effort, service and professionalism. Her daily performance of duties is an inspiration and example to others. She stays positive when dealing with difficult callers and takes a genuine interest in helping others. She maintains composure when faced with stressful situations. She understands why accuracy is essential in CAD calls and gives careful attention to detail. She looks for what needs to be done rather than waiting tobe asked todo something. She cultivates a culture of openness and information sharing and consistently pursues her own professional development. She works well with the public, other agencies and with co-workers. Geiszler consistently looks beyond just doing her job and truly cares about the Communication Center’s overall mission. She readily shares her expertise with other staff in order to develop their skills. Geiszler took it on herself to document common process and steps in dispatch processes in an internal troubleshooting guide for herself. She then, more than willingly, shared those documents with others. And that was well before she was a sergeant. She has been instrumental in helping the Communications Lieutenant update and write new policies and better organize materials in the Communications Center so that everyone can understand and find information when it’s needed. And when a new policy is updated, she makes sure that it stays updated and keeps with it. Geiszler developed the dispatch procedure for dealing with NCERT (North Central Emergency Response Team) calls, something newto our area. When Marathon County signedon as the back-up dispatch center for NCERT, she worked with them so that we were all on the same page. She developed competencies, a competency plan and a competency timeline to make sure that all telecommunicators are familiar with how to handle low volume/high priority/high liability calls. She carries out the plan, ensuring that every telecommunicator has the knowledge and skills to know what is expected of them in these situations. Geiszler’s mission consciousness doesn’t stop at the dispatch door. She regularly takes on additional responsibilities in areas beyond her basic duties, both within the Communications Center and within the Department as a whole. She was elected by her peers to represent the Emergency Management Division on the Department’s Round Table Team. (The purpose of the Round Table Team is to createan environment where its members can participate in leadership development and training, have responsibility concerning the maintenance and development of organizational culture, have inputon policy and procedural development and implementation, effect change, participate in binding decisions, improve inter-departmental communications, participate in innovation and problem solving, handle organizational complexity, conflict resolution and enhance professional adaptability and team building.) One of the Round Table’s initiatives was to look at the Department’s mission statement and guiding values. The Round Table solicited ideas to revamp our Core Values and Geiszler’s idea is the idea that was ultimately chosen by employees to represent this. On her own time, Geiszler helped design a logo for the recently founded Round Table, and solicited cost estimates to display the Core Values throughout the Sheriff’s Department. Geiszler is willing to help all co-workers succeed.One of Geiszler’s strengths is in Microsoft Excel. Becauseof this, the department’s radio technician asked Geiszler if she could help him streamline a process he was currently doingby hand for radio tower checks. Geiszler willingly helped and set up a computerized process and dynamic online worksheet for him. Geiszler adapts willingly to change and changing priorities—things that happen all the time in this profession. She is willing to work long hours oran altered work schedule on little or no notice anddo whatever it takesto get the job done. It is not one heroic event that has Sara Geiszler deserving to be named Telecommunicator of the Year. It is the selfless effort she puts forth every day to ensure that the first responders, citizens and visitorsof Oneida County get the best possible service from this department. And it’s the way she handles and prepares for all calls…because you just never know what will be on the other end when you pick up that phone.

Back Nominations 

Telecommunicator of the Year
Julie Ganski
Marathon County Sheriff's Department
Julie Ganski is a Public Safety Telecommunicator with the Marathon County Sheriff’s Office in Wausau. Our agency is the only Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) in Marathon County which dispatches for 11 law enforcement agencies and 38 fire department/EMS services. We have an operating communications staff of 23 telecommunicators and 6 supervisors. For 2014, we processed over 250,000 calls, which included over 37,000 - 911 calls. As a 12 year veteran of the department Julie has filled many rolls including being a Field Training Officer and a Validations Officer. Her attention to detail and work ethic are well known, not only among members of her division, but throughout the entire department. This was prevalent when Julie was nominated and received the Marathon County Sheriff’s Department Telecommunicator of the Year Award in 2013. For the current evaluation year, Julie answered more 911 calls than anyone in the division and was near the top in CAD entry calls for service. Julie consistently has a positive attitude and truly enjoys her career. In her last evaluation her supervisors stated that “she continues to do great work with her team and is a pleasure to supervise”. Her supervisors know she will complete the tasks assigned to her with the highest of quality. These qualities have resulted in Julie receiving overall “Exceptional” rating on her performance evaluation for the current year. As a result, Julie has once again been nominated for this year’s Marathon County Telecommunicator of the Year award by her immediate supervisors. Julie handles her calls with confidence and compassion. She recently answered a 911 call from a 14 year old girl reporting that her father was suicidal and was armed with several firearms. The caller had contact with her father via cell phone and text messaging. While gathering information and updating responders, Julie was able to establish a rapport with this young girl. She kept her calm and reassured her as the call escalated into a SWAT team response. Even though she answered this 911 call near the end of her 12 hour shift, Julie volunteer to stay over and maintained contact with the frightened young caller. Julie wound up on the phone with her for several hours until crisis negotiators, who were also talking to her father, were able to make contact with her in person. By the end of the night, the call resulted in a peaceful resolution. The next morning, the same young lady called into the 911 center and requested to speak to Julie so she could thank her for all she did to help her and her family during this traumatic experience. Julie happily took the time to speak with her again, providing reassurance and some guidance for this young ladies wellbeing. In October, Julie was recognized by a patrol deputy for going above and beyond her normal duties while investigating a burglary call at a business. The deputy’s report narrative credited PST Ganski for her diligence in continuing to dig into records looking for information. The surveillance video captured a suspect vehicle however it did not identity a license plate number. The deputy named a possible suspect and requested background information on the party. While initial records checks did not result in any connections, PST Ganski kept searching records. She was able to locate a similar vehicle owned by a family member with a different last name. The deputy was able to positively identify that the vehicle as an exact match to the suspect vehicle from the video. This information connected the suspect vehicle and associated parties which linked the two to this specific case. Julie’s efforts enabled investigators to successfully make a positive identification and resulted in the subsequent arrest. The deputy stated that without Julie’s extra efforts he never would have made the necessary connection. Julie received an exceptional performance acknowledgement for her efforts on this call. This is one example of what has become her standard of work. In 2011 Julie volunteered to become a TIME System Validations Officer for the division. Having minimal knowledge, Julie volunteered to assist and sat in for the entire audit. At the completion of the audit it was determined that our procedures needed to be improved as our overall accuracy and completeness rates were well below what we considered acceptable. Julie and our validations team overhauled the current procedures and the results were dramatic. As a result of these changes, we improved from an accuracy rate of 59% and a completeness rate of 60% in 2011 to an accuracy rate of 97% and a completeness rate of 81% for our 2014 audit. We improved our risk assessment from a moderate risk to being considered at a low risk in almost all categories. Julie had once again volunteered to sit in on that entire audit to assist as needed. Applying what she learned, the one area in which we still needed to improve was our warrant entries which were being handled internally by our warrant division. Our warrant division enters approximately 4000 warrants per year. We determined that understaffing in that division was most likely the root cause of errors that were occurring as 1 person is primarily responsible for these entries. As we have come to expect, Julie jumped in with both feet. Knowing the volume of warrants we enter annually and knowing it was going to create a great deal more work for herself, Julie came up with and presented a new procedure in which all warrant entries would be sent to the communications division immediately upon entry. The entries would be checked for accuracy, verify supporting documentation, have errors corrected and be filed by our communications division validations officers. All of this work must be performed in addition to their daily duties working on a radio console. Julie has acted as a liaison between the divisions and has helped all involved make a smooth transition. While this procedure just went into effect on January 1st of this year, we are already seeing a positive impact. I am confident that this procedure will greatly improve our accuracy, completeness and lower our overall risk. Julie was recognized not only by the division commanders but also by our department command staff for her vision and teamwork. While these examples list a few of Julie’s accomplishments, her best attribute is her willingness to help. She never hesitates to assist a coworker, her supervisors, a department member, our user agencies or the citizens we serve. As one of Julie’s supervisors and our departments TIME System Agency Coordinator (TAC) I am proud to recognize her for her efforts and nominate her for this award. Tony Nardi 911/Communications Supervisor Marathon County Sheriff's Department

Back Nominations 

Telecommunicator of the Year
Thomas Schindler
Grant County Sheriff's Office

I would like to nominate Grant County Sheriff’s Office Telecommunicator Thomas Schindler for the WIPSCOM Telecommunicator of the Year. I have had the pleasure of working alongside Tom Schindler for 7 ½ years as a dispatcher with the Grant County Sheriff’s Office. Prior to coming to work for Grant County Tom worked as a Dispatcher at the City of Fond Du Lac Police Department before moving closer to home and working a few years at Iowa County Sheriff’s Department as a Jailer/Dispatcher. Tom started working for the Grant County Sheriff’s Office in September 2005.I have now been Toms supervisor for a little over the past last year. Tom is the best dispatcher I have ever had the pleasure to work with and I hope that Tom’s professionalism, dedication, honesty and reliability will continue to impact our employees.


Demonstrates a positive attitude toward all aspects of the job. Tom is a very positive person and it shows in his daily work. Tom comes to work each day with a great attitude. Tom is always open and friendly with his coworkers and the public. Tom understands as a leader that his attitude sets the pace for other employee’s attitudes. Tom is a very confident and knowledgeable employee and it shows when Tom is assigned a task and is always looking for additional duties. Tom is very receptive to the needs of the citizens we serve, his peers, supervisors and various public safety entities.


Demonstrates a willingness to participate as a team player.

Tom is not only our senior dispatcher, Tom is also that “go to guy” that each department wishes they had. Tom has a great working knowledge of our CAD and RMS, radios, and mapping. Tom took on the task of being our system administrator for VisionAir/TriTech. Tom is always looking for ways to help people improve the work they do and to improve the efficiency of the center.


Demonstrates flexibility in the task assignments and capabilities.

Tom is willing to take on so many different tasks. Tom built our MSAG, worked on our Internal ALI, entry of warrants, validations. There are so many things that Tom does besides his normal dispatching duties. Tom does it all and never complains. Tom always finds time to get the things done that need to be done.


Demonstrates professionalism and pride in personal appearance, quality of workplace appearance and other factors that merit enhanced respect and esteem of co-workers, supervisors and others.

Tom displays professional attitude and appearance everyday he comes to work. Tom takes great pride in the Communications Center. The esteem the department holds for Tom, is based squarely on Tom’s honesty, integrity, reliability, and loyalty Actions which reflect the highest traditions of public safety service. Tom’s whole career has been public safety. Tom strives and excels in his pursuit of his career. Tom understands our past, present and embraces the future of communications.


Innovative procedures suggested by the nominee, and implementation of these procedures, that enhance productivity, improve standards and demonstrate dedication to the field of public safety communications. Tom has worked very hard making sure more data and information are entered into calls than just what is required. Tom understands that the more data entered is more data that is then searchable by our staff. Tom has improved our MSAG, Internal ALI and RMS data and because of his work ethic it has caused other employees to follow his leadership.


Demonstrates his knowledge of the profession.

Everyday Tom show his knowledge of the profession thru his exceptional job performance with very little supervision required, taking on additional tasks and completing them in a timely manner with minimal instruction, assisting employees and coaching new employees and coworkers.


Held in high esteem by colleagues.

Every member of our office can attest to the respect they have for Tom and what a valued member Tom is to the Grant County Sheriff’s Office


Demonstrates exceptional courage, foresight, alertness and skill in the performance of his or her profession.

Tom is always looking at ways to improve our Communications Center.


Acts of valuable communications services, special faithfulness and perseverance. Tom has taken on additions tasks and assignments that have sometime taken extended periods of time to complete. This has not deterred Toms quest to continue to improve our department.

Back Nominations 

Telecommunicator of the Year
Heather Van Straten
Outagamie County Sheriff's Department

Heather always comes to work displaying a positive, upbeat attitude. No matter what position she is sitting in the room, she is always willing to help and keeps an active ear open to everything that is occurring. If there is an issue or she can hear someone struggling with something, she is quick to step up and help. She is a very good investigator. Using her resources, she has helped officers figure out cases and link things together that would not normally be seen by eyes out on the road. In her down time, she is still doing tasks that will benefit her and her fellow TC's. She updates all of the Task Sheet Binders, Console Books and Way Cool Binders so the information is always current for when it is needed. When she does updates, she also sends out an informational email to everyone explaining the updates and where they can be found. Because of this, her fellow coworkers always have the most up to date information at their fingertips and they know where to locate it when needed. Heather is a member of the Public Education Program (PEP Club). This is a group that gets together and thinks of ideas on how to educate the public about the use of 9-1-1 and then they go out to different public events to spread their knowledge. She put together a 2 sided tri­fold flyer highlighting the programs focus that can be handed out to the public during different outings. Heather is also a Communications Training Officer (CTO). Her knowledge of the job and attention to detail are what is needed to train new TC's and get them started on the right path to success. Even when she is training someone as a CTO, she still picks up extra tasks here and there to help out her coworkers. New employees see this and it sets a good example of what is expected out of them too. Heather's attention to detail really shows through in her work that she performs. She had exemplary scores in her radio and phone QA's for 2012 and did not have any errors when entering warrants or protection orders. She is also a validations officer and always had her validations completed in a timely manner each month. Heather received the Best of the Badge Award in 2012. She definitely deserved it with how much she puts into the communications center. There's no wonder why her fellow TC's and responders from all of the police, fire and EMS agencies love working with her. Heather will always have their backs through thick and thin. She is an asset to the communications center, her coworkers, responders and all of the citizens of Outagamie.


Telecommunicator of the Year
Critical Incident
Cynthia Agacki
Wood County Dispatch Center
On October 2, 2011 at 0707 the Wood County Dispatch Center received a VOIP 911 call that actually originated in Brown County but for some reason misrouted to our PSAP. Dispatch Cynthia Agacki fielded the call and quickly determined that even though it was from outside our jurisdiction she had to stay on the call with this subject. There was some confusion at first when the person was giving a Green Bay address and then he said that if Police didn4t arrive soon he would blow his house up. Cynthia stayed on this call for over 14 minutes and finally talked the subject into coming out of the house and surrendering to Deputies. While she was on the call other Dispatchers contacted Brown County and found out they were already out at this subject4s residence and that he had refused to come out. From the Brown County Deputy4s incident report: Deputy Steffen and Deputy Grinke secured the outside perimeter of the home. As we entered the home we could hear Erol talking to himself in the basement. Deputy Stevens announced himself and asked Erol if he would come to the bottom of the stairs and talk with us. Erol refused. Erol advised us that he had a gun and also that the house was rigged with explosives. After speaking with Erol for approximately 5 minutes Erol stopped talking with us. Moments later we could hear Erol speaking with someone else. Dispatched advised moments later that he was speaking with someone from the Wood County Sheriff4s Office (WCSO). Throughout Erol4s conversation with the WCSO Erol advised that he had a gun. After approximately 10 minutes the WCSO convinced Erol to come up out of the basement area to us. Erol came out from the basement and walked up the stairs, Deputy Stevens and Sgt. Maloney took Erol into custody at this time. Erol was handcuffed, searched and placed in the back of my squad car for transport. On the way to the Crisis Center I asked Erol what Why was going on today. Erol said, 4I4m just depressed and want to kill myself.. From the Brown County Communications Center log: At 0713: Wood County is on the phone w/James and said the house is going to blow up and ready to exploaded and he has 357 mag and it is loaded At 0715: He states he is in the basment of the house and wants to hear a siren At 0723: Subject is 10-80 per 5K At 0727: Wood County notified subject in custody and thanked for all their help Cynthia 4Cindy. did a wonderful job on this call and was instrumental in the safe conclusion to this situation. Cindy works all her shifts striving to excel and provides our callers and users with the best possible customer service at all times. I believe that Cindy is deserving of the Telecommunicator of the Year award for this incident and her continuous dedication to the job.  Submitted by:  Kelly Zenz, Manager, Wood County Dispatch Center


2010 - Amanda Freeman
2009 - Thomas Prochaska
            Dane County Public Safety
2008 - Luis Bixler
           Dane County Public Safety
2007 - Wisconsin Dells Dispatch Team
2006 - Jim Orgas
           Waukesha County Communications Department
2005 - Vicki Libecki
2002 -  Angela Owens
            Outagamie County Sheriff's Department
2000 - Tina Gebhard
            Sun Prairie Police Department
1999 - Jim Muller
           Grant County Sheriff's Department