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Simcoe County Tri-Service Public Safety Communications Awards Return

To be held April 16, 2024, at the Simcoe County Museum

Midhurst/April 10, 2024 – The Simcoe County Tri-Service Public Safety Communications Awards ceremony returns April 16, 2024, celebrating honourees from both 2019 and 2023.

This ceremony recognizes the exceptional work of the vital call-takers, dispatchers, and supervisors in our emergency response system. These individuals provide a vital link to callers in distress and provide a communications safety net to emergency responders on scene.

“It is truly an honour to recognize the outstanding efforts of this group of unsung heroes for the work they do each and every day, often under difficult conditions. On behalf of County Council, our residents and visitors, congratulations to all the recipients and thank you for your dedication, strength and resilience.”

~ Warden Basil Clarke, County of Simcoe

Award Recipient Stories

Note: We are celebrating 2019 and 2023 award recipients as the 2020 ceremony cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program was paused during 2020-2022.

2019 Winners

Marc Sparrow, a Communications Operator from the OPP Provincial Communication Centre in Orillia, is the recipient of the 2019 Simcoe County Public Safety Communicator-of-the-Year Award. Described as a “professional and natural leader” by his colleagues, Mark was recognized for the example he sets for his peers. A member of the Innovation Committee, Marc helps to bring new ideas forward, working to ensure his co-workers are engaged and prepared for changes in operations and policy when they happen.

The 2019 Simcoe County Public Safety Communications Team Award will be presented to Karleigh Horan, Joanna Baker, Caroline Graham, and Angie Elliott from Barrie Police Services. On a busy day in August 2019, this team received a call involving a person in distress with a weapon. In addition to the continued influx of normal 9-1-1 calls, these four operators coordinated a complex, multi-agency response, utilizing dedicated radio channels, while still maintaining service elsewhere in the city.  Further complicating communications was two brief radio outages attributed to preplanned radio maintenance. Through professionalism and effective communication, these communicators worked as a team, providing effective support for everyone involved in the incident.

Connor Disson from the City of Barrie will be recognized as the 2019 Youth Award. Then 11 years old Connor called 911 after a family member fell down the stairs and was unable to speak properly. Concerned about a possible head injury or stroke, Connor made the decision to call 911 and was calmly and clearly able to relay the information to the EMS dispatcher. Connor stayed on the line with the dispatcher, providing care to his family member until help arrived.

2023 Winners

Kirstie Duke, a Communications Operator from the OPP Provincial Communication Centre in Orillia, is the recipient of the 2023 Simcoe County Public Safety Communicator-of-the-Year Award. During her three years in the role, Kirstie has committed more than 1,000 hours helping to coach and support other staff. Described as an exceptional employee who leads by example, her professionalism and knowledge inspire those around her. Her efforts in training and coaching have also led to the success of others.

The 2023 Simcoe County Public Safety Communications Team Award is presented Barrie Police Service staff members Sherri Heenan, Jayme Morrison, Melissa Nadeau, Karleigh Horan, Taylor Bolam, Kelly Van Schubert, Sara Bullied, Chantelle Gerry, Dana Forrest, Sharon Taylor, Hailey Richardson, Mikyla Matthews, Sarah Kenwright, and Sarah Winzar. In late 2023, this team coordinated the response to a delicate and potentially dangerous situation involving a person in distress. Working with multiple agencies, including groups outside of traditional emergency services, this team’s professionalism, and dedication over a 24-hour period helped to ensure the successful and safe resolution of the incident.

Event details

EVENT:13th Simcoe County 9-1-1 Management Board Public Safety Communications Awards
Where:Simcoe County Museum, 1151 Highway 26, Minesing
When:April 16, 2024 ~ 1 p.m.
Ceremony and interviews with recipients

About the County of Simcoe

County of Simcoe is composed of 16 member municipalities and provides crucial public services to County residents, in addition to providing paramedic and social services to the separated cities of Barrie and Orillia. Visit our website at