UTSA Celebrates National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week

April 23, 2021


The second week of April is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, a week-long celebration of the men and women who serve as public safety telecommunications personnel. The event was created to honor those who dedicate their lives to serving the public. Public Safety celebrated the week by honoring their team of police communication officers for their hard work and dedication to making UTSA a safe space for students, faculty, staff and guests.

The police communicator officers are the first link between the community and the police department. They are tasked with fielding emergency and non-emergency calls and making sure the appropriate resources are given to the caller. They also play a critical role in managing emergency incident response. Officers are trained to comfort a caller and extract necessary information that they will use to dispatch the correct agency to the emergency site. Their hard work positively impacts the lives of students, staff and faculty, and their quick response time allows those in need to feel safe and know that their problem is taken seriously.

Capt. Thomas Calucci shared an example of how a recent positive experience with a communication officer helped a student in need. The student was having a difficult week, and noticed he was having car trouble. He was running late for an appointment and decided to deal with his car issues later. When he got back to his vehicle later that day, the battery was dead. Not sure what to do, he called the dispatcher, who then sent officers to get his car started. The help the officers’ provided resonated with the student.

Later that week, the student emailed the department: “The turning point for me that week was talking to the dispatcher. He made a difference in ending my week on a positive note when I needed it the most.” The student said he went home and put on his UTSA hat with pride.

This is just one of many examples of how the Police Department and their communication officers have shaped experiences at UTSA. “We put together a team of highly trained and licensed professional police communications officers,” said Capt. Calucci. “They consistently prove that they are capable of addressing any type of incident that occurs in our community. I am constantly amazed at all they accomplish during a critical incident.”

Last week, Public Safety thanked their communication officers with many snacks and sugary treats, and presented a proclamation from Governor Greg Abbott recognizing Public Safety Telecommunicators Week in Texas. Here are the team members:

  • Jeff Volz, Supervisor
  • Gilberto Morales, Police Comm Operator II
  • April Saenz, Police Comm Operator II
  • Sandra Herrera, Police Comm Operator I
  • Ignacio Pineda, Police Comm Operator I
  • Lisel Rios, Police Comm Operator II
  • Heather Gartrell, Police Comm Operator I
  • Daniela Zavala, PCO-in-training