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Virginia Sheriffs' Institute
Supporting Virginia’s Sheriffs & Deputies

Sheriff Howard D. Smith is pleased to announce that Emergency Communications Manager Lisa R. Usher has been selected as the recipient of the 2008 Governor’s Award for Excellence Award for Outstanding Contribution to EMS by a Telecommunications Officer.  Emergency Communications Manager Usher received the award during a ceremony held November 15, 2008 during the 2008 Virginia Emergency Medical Services Conference in Norfolk. 

Emergency_Communications_Manager_Lisa_Usher.jpgEmergency Communications Manager Usher was selected as the recipient of the Excellence Award for Outstanding Contribution to EMS by a Telecommunications Officer on May 20, 2008 on a Regional Level.  From there her nomination was submitted for the Governors award of excellence.  

To be eligible to receive the award, a nominee must be an emergency medical telecommunications officer, public safety answering point administrator, supervisor or training officer whose outstanding dedication and service has demonstrated an exceptional contribution to the improved delivery of emergency medical services in the local, regional or statewide EMS system. 

Ms. Usher is a member of the following committees: Spotsylvania County Fire & Rescue Commission Communication Committee, Spotsylvania County Public Safety Committee, Spotsylvania Communication Protocol Committee, Spotsylvania County CAD Committee, and Spotsylvania County Pandemic Flu Committee. 

Ms. Usher holds the following certifications and has attend the following training: Dispatch Basic, EMD, CPR – Health Care Provider, Communications Training Officer, NCIC/VCIN, 7 Habits of Highly Effective Managers, Domestic Violence Crisis Communications, Step up to Supervisor, VESTA Administrator, IS-200, IS-800, IS-700, IS-100.LE through FEMA, Achieving Excellence in 911 Center Management, and Haz-Mat Awareness. 

Ms. Usher moved to Spotsylvania County in 1996 from Henrico County with an initial goal of pursuing a career with Spotsylvania County’s Sheriff’s Office.  At that time, the only skills she had related to Public Service was an EMT-B certification and the time she had spent as a volunteer with Henrico County.   Lisa applied for a position with the Sheriff’ Office as a dispatcher in the 911 Center.  Her thought process was that this would be a good stepping-stone to pursue her goal of being a law enforcement officer.  She was hired as a dispatcher in January 1997.  As she worked in the 911 Center, she discovered she enjoyed her role as a dispatcher and changed her career goals. 

Ms. Usher has been a member of the Emergency Communications Center (ECC) since January 1997.  She started her career with an entry level position and has moved through the promotional levels in the Center to her current position.  Here is a brief summary of Emergency Communications Manager Usher’s career with the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office 911 Center: January 1997 she was hired with 911 Center and started as a Call Taker; July 1997 she was promoted from Call Taker to Dispatcher; 1999 she was promoted to Shift Supervisor; 2001 she was appointed to filled in as Acting Assistant Director; 2002 she was promoted to Assistant Director; and in 2004 she was promoted to Emergency Communications Manager. 

The ECC was an independent department in Spotsylvania County government until March 2004, when the Center was moved under the Sheriff’s Office.  At that time, Ms. Usher held the position of Assistant Director of the ECC.  The ECC was re-organized slightly as a result of the move under the Sheriff’s Office.  Based on her performance, skill, and dedication to the Center, Sheriff Smith retained her and modified her position to Emergency Communications Manager, which is the same position she currently holds. 

Ms. Usher had to expand her knowledge of the operations of the ECC as her new position required her to perform in more of a management role than she had in the past.  She was given more responsibilities in the areas of budget, planning, personnel allocation, technical oversight, hiring, and discipline. 

Ms. Usher learned what was required of her and has developed the skills necessary for her new position.  In addition to the task of gathering new information and gaining additional knowledge, Ms. Usher has maintained her skills as a competent Emergency Communications Officer and Supervisor.  She has continued to fill-in and work with all four ECC shifts to assist with coverage, to act as an “extra” dispatcher during times of chaotic situations and incidents, and to help her stay in touch with members assigned to the ECC.  

When a problem arises that is new to her, Ms. Usher conducts research to resolve the issue at hand.  She also takes steps in attempts to ensure the same problem will not happen again; or she implements procedures to address a situation that is likely to occur in the future. 

Ms. Usher makes herself available at all times to be called to answer questions and help solve problems that are unique in nature that may arise during times she is not present in the Center, to include after hours.  She also fills-in as a Supervisor, Officer (dispatcher), or Operator (call taker) on short notice when someone calls out ill or has to leave their shift due to illness or family emergency. 

Ms. Usher is well respected by her peers, supervisors of the Sheriff’s Office, and those she supervises as someone who is extremely knowledgeable in all areas of the ECC.  She is recognized as a leader in the Sheriff’s Office. 

Sheriff Smith calls upon her not only for her expertise in the ECC, but also for her opinions, ideas, and suggestions as a manager for issues that arise that effect the entire operation of the Sheriff’s Office. 

Ms. Usher is an extremely knowledgeable, skilled professional who dedicates countless hours to the Sheriff’s Office and Emergency Communications Center in efforts to continually improve the operation of both.  She is a true example of an enthusiastic, motivated, unselfish leader who continuously devotes many hours and efforts toward serving the agencies supported by the ECC, as well as the citizens served by the ECC. 

Sheriff Smith summarized by stating, “Ms. Usher is a valued member of the Sheriff’s Office and we are fortunate to have her working with us.”