The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office is using the month of April to launch Operation Visibility, a campaign that highlights Sarasota County’s public safety telecommunication professionals.

In their behind-the-scenes role, 911 operators are often heard but rarely seen. These “first” first responders have one of the toughest jobs in the law enforcement profession, which is why the sheriff’s office is dedicating the month of April to making 911 operators more visible. Beginning Tuesday, March 23, community members including first responders are invited to submit words of gratitude to Submissions can be as short as a sentence or up to 250 words. Examples might include:

  • How a 911 operator assisted you during a traumatic event.
  • If you are a first responder, how a dispatcher assisted you during a dangerous call.
  • If your loved one is a 911 operator, how their service inspires you.
  • A general “thank you” to Sarasota County’s “first” first responders.

Throughout April, submissions will be shared directly with sheriff’s office 911 operators as well as posted to sheriff’s office social media platforms. In addition to sharing submissions, Operation Visibility will highlight 911 operators on Wednesday, April 7, when the Sarasota County Commission presents a proclamation recognizing their hard work and dedication to duty. On April 15, Operation Visibility will also include a look inside the 911 call center during a Facebook live event hosted by Sarasota County Government.

“The men and women who answer the call are crucial to public safety,” commented Sheriff Kurt A. Hoffman. “Without 911 operators, not only would our citizens not receive help during critical moments, but our deputies, firefighters and EMS workers would not have someone looking out for them during those dangerous and life-threatening calls for service. In a profession as dynamic and challenging as law enforcement, it is thanks to our 911 operators we are able to safely serve this community and go home to our families each night.”

Operation Visibility is being hosted in concert with National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, held annually during the second week of April. The week-long event was created in 1981 by Patricia Anderson of the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office in California, to celebrate and thank those who dedicate their lives to serving the public.

To follow along during Operation Visibility, search for the hashtag #SCSOOperationVisibility on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.