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Chippewa County dispatchers honored for call to action during Girl Scouts tragedy

Chippewa County (WQOW) – Four dispatchers are being hailed for their efforts during one of Chippewa County’s darkest days.

Back on November 3, 2018, Girl Scouts were picking up trash along a Chippewa County highway when an alleged intoxicated driver went off the road and hit the troop, killing three Girl Scouts and a mother. Another Girl Scout was hospitalized for an extended period of time but is OK.

On June 6, the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International (APCO) awarded Pam Crandall, Tamee Foldy, Hera Novak and Mike Sokup the Teammates in Action award.

Below is a release from the APCO.

Calls involving children and young adults are hands down some of the toughest calls a telecommunicator can handle. Regardless of being police, fire or EMS related, child related calls tax not only the call taker, but the dispatcher and everyone in the center.

On November 3, 2018, four telecommunicators from the Chippewa County (WI) Sheriff’s Office dealt with the unthinkable when they had an accident, not only involving one child, but several.

In western Wisconsin, on November 3, a driver had drifted across the roadway and into a ditch where a Girl Scout troop was picking up trash for a community service project. The vehicle struck several Girl Scouts, killing three, and one adult, and seriously injured a fourth Girl Scout. The driver then fled the scene.

Telecommunicators Pam Crandall and Tamee Foldy received the first phone calls from absolutely distraught parents on the scene and did an exceptional job of calming them down, as best they could, to obtain the information they needed. Tamee was also the primary dispatcher for that channel and sent out for the initial response. Teammates Hera Novak and Mike Sokup helped with answering radio traffic associated with the incident and assisted with calling in three air ambulances and additional ground ambulances. Overall, resources from ten different agencies responded and the team of four excelled at coordinating it all.

On behalf of APCO International, we honor Pam Crandall, Tamee Foldy, Hera Novak, and Mike Sokup for their steadfast efforts in handling this incredibly tragic situation, and bestow upon them the Teammates in Action Recognition.

Our thoughts are with the families of the lost and injured, and to the responders who were involved in this incident.

(Pictured, Left to right – Tamee Foldy, Mike Sokup, Hera Novak.) Pam Crandall is not pictured because she is no longer an employee of the department.

Clint Berge

Clint Berge is the Social Media & Digital Content Manager for Eau Claire’s Own WQOW News 18.
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