City commission proclaims National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week

Published 12:29 pm Friday, April 7, 2023

Maintaining public safety is one of the vital roles of city government and the Winchester City Commission made sure to recognize those that help keep city streets safe during a Tuesday meeting.

Mayor JoEllen Reed and the rest of the municipal legislative body recognized the week of April 9-15 as National Safety Telecommunicators Week with an official proclamation.

The mayor relayed her personal thanks to the city’s safety workers.

Email newsletter signup

“I was T-boned in an accident this past Wednesday at the intersection of Boone Avenue and Maple Street and was transported to the hospital,” Reed said. “I’m up and moving, and doing okay, but the response was unbelievable from our first responders. I was made to feel safe, comfortable and that everything was okay.”

Reed also lauded the city’s emergency dispatchers.

“We could not do without these folks,” she said. “When you pick that phone up, and you call 911, and nobody answers on the other end, guess what happens? Tragedy…These folks are all the time answering those calls and have saved lives over and over and over.”

911 operator Jeannie Gwynne then said a few remarks.

Gwynne said that dispatchers are not recognized as first responders in many places, and there are several movements nationwide to change that.

“I want to thank the city for recognizing us as first responders,” Gwynne said.

Dispatchers are still considered administrators, but Gwynne wanted to correct that misconception.

“We can video chat and can see the things that are surrounding us. Technology has come so far, and we do far more than administrative duties,” Gwynne said.

Gwynne mentioned as she read a statement from a national dispatch association that dispatchers often provide the first calming words someone in distress will hear when they call 911.

“I am the ears that listen to all those I serve. I have heard the screams of faceless people that I never will meet nor forget. I’ve cried at the atrocities of mankind and rejoiced at the miracles of life. I was there, though unseen by comrades in the field during the most trying emergencies,” Gwynne read.

Road Closures

The commission reviewed and approved requests to close several city streets for upcoming events.

The first request was to close Main Street from Broadway Street to Lexington Avenue to Court Street to Cleveland Avenue for the annual Rock the Block concerts on May 19, June 9, July 14 and August 11.

The second request was to close Main Street from Boone Avenue to Washington Street for the Beer Cheese Festival on June 10.

The third request was to close Main Street from Washington to Broadway streets for the Rock the Block car shows on the same days as the concerts.

The fourth request was to close Lincoln Street on April 29 for the Lincoln Street Dedication & Phase I Celebration.

The fifth and final request was to close Depot Street on September 16 for the Forever 17 Car & Bike Show.


The commission approved the appointment of Janet Townsend to an unexpired four-year term on the House Authority of Winchester Board.

Townsend will replace Alyshia P. Martin.

The commission also approved the appointment of Halee Cunningham to an unexpired term on the Winchester/Clark County Recreational, Tourist and Convention Commission. Cunningham will replace Cameron Correll.