Decatur 911 Dispatcher Wins Regional Telecommunicator Award


The Decatur Police Department sends along this announcement from Smart 911…

DECATUR, Ga., April 15, 2015 – April is National 9-1-1 Education Month and the second full week is traditionally celebrated as National Public Safety Telecommunications Week. This year a local dispatcher from the City of Decatur is receiving national acclaim. Jeremy Pickett was voted the Southeast Regional Honoree in the 4th annual Smart Telecommuncator Awards.

The Smart Telecommunicator Awards aims to recognize and reward 9-1-1 telecommunicators for leadership, performance, compassion for callers, ability to inspire co-workers and overall contributions to their Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs). Last month 9-1-1 call-takers and dispatchers (telecommunicators) across the U.S. were nominated by peers and individuals, and forty finalist entries were then selected for an online public vote. After thousands weighed-in, Pickett was named the top winner for his region.

According to the nomination submitted, Pickett is a model employee who provides relief and reassurance not only to the community, but to the police officers and fire fighters when they learn he is the 911 dispatcher handling a call. From providing emergency crews information before they even ask, to using Smart911 profiles to provide access notes, to helping to respond accordingly to an individual with autism, he is trusted and respected by his peers. The Smart Telecommunicator Awards are conducted by Smart911, the acclaimed national public safety service, in partnership with the Industry Council for Emergency Response Technologies (iCERT) and the Denise Amber Lee Foundation.

One national winner and three other regional honorees were also announced. To read about the other winners, please visit: In addition to the Smart Telecommunicator Award, Smart911 will present a donation of $500 to each winner’s charity of choice and $1,000 to the national winner’s charity. Pickett has selected the Wounded Warrior Project.

This is also a good time to remind residents to sign up for Smart 911 for emergency alerts if they haven’t already.  The system replaced CodeRed back in February.

Photo courtesy of DPD

Should We Organize a Decatur-Based “Cash Mob”?

I saw this somewhere a couple of days ago, but Derych was good enough to jog my memory with this link.  Here’s a summary of a “cash mob” from the PRI article…

Instead of breaking into song, members of cash mobs break open their wallets to spend money at locally owned businesses.

Since starting last year, cash mobs have been organized in 32 states and Canada. But unlike flash mobs, which are generally entertaining and trivial, they come with a serious purpose.

The idea is the brainchild of Buffalo blogger and engineer Chris Smith, who said that Cash Mobs are sort of a reverse Groupon. Instead of offering people bargain-basement deals, people pay the regular price to support retailers in their communities.

It’s a really great idea.  I especially like the part about it that it is “a reserve Groupon”.  I’ve always had very mixed feelings about those half-price coupons.  Especially using them at my favorite local spots.  However,  we’d need to think of a fair and unbiased way to decided on which business gets a “cash mob”.  But it might be doable.

What do you all think?  After the jump, see the list of suggested rules for a cash mob from a Cleveland cash mob group.  We could adjust them as needed, but I think the “have a drink” afterwards aspect is an important one.  I’m sure J_T would organize that part, no questions asked!

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Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign

There’s a bunch of new signs popping up around town. Or maybe not new, but new to me and to DM. And that counts. Here are some notables.

Retail Conversion?
When One Decatur Town Center was built in 1984, replacing the former Candler Hotel, downtown was pretty darn dead. Unless you count the hookers, that is. Or so I’ve been told. Either way, while the city’s vision called for development that would contribute to a new “Main Street” lined with shops and restaurants, the market economics of the day said, “no.” So, the building was built in such a way that the ground floor could be leased for office space until such time that the retail market improved, upon which the space could be retrofitted to assume its intended use. 25+ years later, we might finally be there.

At least that’s what’s suggested by this first picture. Any of our regular insiders know more? My personal assessment is that such a conversion would add even more interest to this stretch of Ponce, which has already assumed the role of one of our most charming downtown blocks. And there’s certainly historic precedent, such as the retail space that originally occupied the ground floor of the Pythagoras Mason Temple Building.

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Asking Why the Bell Tolls

Of all the burning issues to flame through Decatur, the school bell schedule is the one I personally could not care less about. I know that this betrays my woefully Allisoncentric view of the world. But perhaps I am slightly redeemed by the fact that I have tried — really tried — to listen to a few of the fellow dwellers in my corner of the city wax indignant on all sides of the matter, because I know the issue is very important to them.

It just isn’t to me. I really have tried to listen, but I confess most of what I’ve heard has slid off of me like slices of bologna thrown at a plate glass window.

One slice did stick, however. It’s a refrain that comes around just about every time we have a burning issue, as regular as a chorus in a folk song. It goes a little something like this:

“We’ve been here [random number] years, and things just aren’t the way they used to be. These people who have not lived here as long as we have don’t really belong here. They aren’t ‘Decatur.’ They don’t understand how we do things here.”

I think that “Old Decatur/New Decatur” is a false, oversimplifying dichotomy. It doesn’t account for many other kinds of differences and divisions in our midst that are far more real.

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“Transportation on the line . . . please hold.”

Last night as the storms started, my land line rang from a number that identified as “GA ST GOVT.” Curious, I answered it, and I was greeted by a recorded message from Decatur mayor Bill Floyd, inviting me to participate in a “Telephone Town Hall” on the “Transportation Investment Act,” the July 2012 referendum to consider a 10-year penny sales tax to fund transportation improvements in 10 Metro regional counties. The discussion was taking place right that very minute. All I had to do was stay on the line.

I’ve been invited to participate in all sorts of “roundtables” and “town halls” and “webinars” and such, but never have I gotten a phone call like this one. On the one hand, it might have been nice to get a little bit of advance notice that this call was coming, but on the other hand, advance notice may not have changed the likelihood of my participation. As it was, it came at a good moment; I had unplugged the computer during the thunderbumper and was unloading the dishwasher and listening to that blessed rain fall. So I crooked the phone between my ear and shoulder while I cleaned the kitchen and paid attention.

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Decatur Asking You to Take Technology Survey

From the City of Decatur’s Linda Harris…

The City of Decatur is developing a five-year Technology Strategic Plan. We want to hear from you to ensure that we are investing in the right technologies to continue providing high quality service within our fiscal limits. Please click on the link below to respond to the City’s Technology Strategic Plan survey.

Questions include your experience with Wi-Fi inside the city limits, what city services you’d like to see online, and what city online services do you currently use.

Meet Decatur’s First Crowdsourced Bike Rack

Isn’t it beautiful?

OK, a little background.  Back in May of last year, I posted a picture of at least six different bicycles chained to light-posts and trees in front of Farm Burger on a Saturday afternoon.  The need for a bike rack in the area obvious and the pic led to a great conversation about city bike ordinances and how much we should rely on the city’s government to supply or require such things.

The owner of the neighboring Marlay property, Chadwick, quickly let us know that he was open to installing a bike rack on his property.  After being tipped off by commenters, I followed up with a second post about SOPO’s bike rack installation program, and DM readers continued to provide guidance on the most affordable and practical options for bike rack purchase and installation.

And now today, I’m happy to report that I just received this pic from Darren at The Marlay showing that the bike rack has been installed and is ready for use!  I’m not sure who paid for it, but we should certainly be appreciative to Chadwick and The Marlay folks for being receptive to installing a rack that should be a great resource for both The Marlay and its neighbors.

That’s community folks.  And that’s also a primitive sort of crowd-sourcing.  All it takes is a bunch of people with a diverse enough knowledge base and a willing property owner and you might just begin to accomplish some of the smaller things in your town that were once only possible as a result of the more traditional models of government.