Mayor Chris Beutler today presented the Mayor's Award of Excellence for April to Megan Ellis, an Emergency Services Dispatch Supervisor in the Communications division of the Police Department. The award was presented at the beginning of today's City Council meeting. The monthly award recognizes City employees who consistently provide exemplary service and work that demonstrates personal commitment to the City.
Ellis has worked for the City since 2005 and was nominated by Linda Thurber, who recently retired as Dispatch Supervisor. She was nominated in the categories of customer relations and productivity for creating a new procedure for communicating information to the County Attorney's office.
The Emergency Communications Center dispatches for the Police and Fire Departments, and takes 9-1-1 and non-emergency phone calls. In December 2012, the Center merged with the Police Department. Thurber said the agency did a great deal of self-review as employees worked on policies and procedures and learned new job tasks.
As the first shift supervisor, Ellis manages up to ten employees in addition to working a position in the Center. Thurber said Ellis is able to balance both jobs and continuously encourages staff members to perform at their best. She said Ellis has a positive attitude and is self-motivated.
As a service to its user agencies, the Center routinely provides copies of audio recordings of calls for use in training, methods improvement and legal proceedings. Most of these requests come from the Lancaster County Attorney's Office. Over the last three years, this division has averaged 900 requests per year from the public and user agencies, including the County Attorney. Creating an audio file takes an average of 20 minutes, so this task takes about 300 hours a year, equal to about 38 eight-hour shifts.
To save time, Ellis took the initiative to create a new procedure for the County Attorney's office to request recorded audio evidence in domestic abuse cases. The previous procedure required a Center supervisor to research the information provided, retrieve the audio, burn it to a CD, print a label, and create a cover memo listing the call taker and radio dispatcher. This information was then sent through the interoffice mail to the requesting County Attorney.
The new process uses electronic file sharing. Requests are placed in a shared folder on the City network, and the retrieved audio file is then placed in the same shared folder for the County Attorney's office. It's estimated that the new process will cut the supervisor's preparation time in half. It also eliminates the cost of CDs and labels. Ellis recently facilitated a meeting with Nicole Ringler and Brenda Kramer from the County Attorney's office to work out the final steps.
Ellis has also volunteered to cross-train for a different position, which dispatches an information channel for LPD. Thurber wrote, "She has embraced this assignment, always digging deeper, wanting to understand all facets of the position. She takes pride in her work and has strived to make improvements by updating or restructuring processes when possible."
The other categories in which employees can be nominated are loss prevention, safety and valor. Consideration also may be given to nominations that demonstrate self-initiated accomplishments or those completed outside of the nominee's job description. All City employees are eligible for the Mayor's Award of Excellence except for elected and appointed officials.
Individuals or teams can be nominated by supervisors, peers, subordinates and the general public. Nomination forms are available at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: hr) or from department heads, employee bulletin boards or the Human Resources Department, which oversees the awards program. All nominations are considered by the Mayor's Award of Excellence Committee, which includes a representative with each union and a non-union representative appointed by the Mayor. Award winners receive a $50 gift certificate, a day off with pay and a plaque. All monthly winners and nominees are eligible to receive the annual award, which comes with a $250 gift certificate, two days off with pay and a plaque.