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Suffolk Pushes N.Y. Law Designating Dispatchers As First Responders

dispatcher emergency
Image by Ernesto Eslava from Pixabay

Suffolk County lawmakers want New York to pass a bill that would officially recognize emergency service dispatchers as first responders before the state legislative session ends Thursday.

Lawmakers and union leaders said recognition is long overdue for Suffolk dispatchers like Stephanie Bukowinski. She said she assisted in the successful delivery of a baby girl over the phone last week.

“We are the very first person you talk to. You are not seeing us, may not see us, but we are there. We are the first on the front line,” Bukowinski said.

First responder status would expand training opportunities for dispatch workers and give them additional protections. That would include the medical benefits that police and firefighters were given during the pandemic.

The measure passed through the New York State Assembly Tuesday.

A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.