MORGANTOWN — Lt. Ethan Bailey was named MECCA’s telecommunicator of the year.
Assistant 911 director Brad Wilson said Bailey, who has been with MECCA for five years, was promoted last year to shift supervisor and he’s stood out by taking on a training role as well.
All MECCA telecommunicators have to earn multiple certifications, including the public safety telecommunicator certification, Bailey said. There is also an on-the-job learning component and 24 hours of bi-annual continuing education.
“It’s a great team of people,” Bailey said, adding that he felt very humbled when he learned he won.
As a shift supervisor Bailey oversees five people a night and has a lot of responsibility, Wilson said. Making sure all calls are prioritized correctly, the proper agency is sent to each call, answering any questions other telecommicators have and sometimes making the hard choices fast are all part of Bailey’s nightly duties.
Those tough decisions include making sure first responders are safe. Wilson said MECCA operators track how long law enforcement officers have been on a call and if they haven’t checked in after a certain amount of time, the operator will check on them.
Working for MECCA can be high-stress at times and managing stress is important, Bailey said. Wilson said there’s no telling what is going to be on the other end of the line when you answer a call.
“There’s no set time as to when it starts and when it lets up,” Bailey said. “You just have to work through it.”
Brittany LaRue has worked with Bailey since 2014 and said he’s “absolutely awesome” as a supervisor. She said he’s laid back, knowledgeable and calm under pressure.
“He never panics on the floor,” she said.