Posted April 15, 2024

TUDPS celebrates National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week

Temple University’s Department of Public Safety recognizes the work of its dispatchers during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. 

Photography By: 
Ryan Brandenberg
Temple University Dispatcher Brian Hathaway will be the alumni speaker at the Bachelor of General Studies graduation.

Brian Hathaway is used to taking calls involving people’s concerns and issues. He’s been doing that while working as a dispatcher with the Temple University Department of Public Safety (TUDPS) for more than a decade.

“I wanted a job that allowed me to be there for people,” Hathaway said.

But he recently received a call to help in another way: To be the alumni speaker at the bachelor of general studies graduation next month. The school sought to honor him after learning that Hathaway fulfilled his dream and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in general studies in December 2022—41 years after he had been given a full ride to Temple. 

“It wasn’t easy for me but it was worth it, and I’m proud to be a Temple graduate,” he said. 

With the second week of April honoring National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, TUDPS is recognizing Hathaway and other trained telecommunicators, called dispatchers, who are the first point of contact when people call Temple Police (215-204-1234). Hathaway is among a team of dispatchers who staff the Communications Center 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and who work to make campus safer. Dispatchers are tasked with taking calls and then sending the proper professionals to handle those issues—anyone from police, to EMS and others. 

“When people call us, it’s usually because they have an issue. And we’re there to try to solve their issue,” said Kyle Sentore, a TUDPS dispatcher. “We’re here to help and we want them to know that we’re always here for that.”

Sentore added that sometimes, the person on the other end of the line will come into the Communications Center to say “thank you.”

“It’s good knowing that you impacted someone’s life for the positive,” he said. 

Following Hathaway’s path, Sentore is enrolled at Temple in general studies, as the university offers its employees free tuition.

“The sky’s the limit here at Temple,” Sentore said.

Abe Ortiz, a dispatcher who worked at Temple for more than two decades, agrees.

“I’m from North Philly, and I like seeing a difference being made to the community and I like being a part of that,” Ortiz said. “So that’s what kept me here.”

Ortiz isn’t alone.

“Temple is like my second home,” said Phylicia Rosario, who has worked as a dispatcher here for 18 years. “I’m proud to serve because I’m helping people daily, whether it’s staff, students or faculty.”

She added that calls will vary from people needing directions to those who are dealing with a crisis. 

“I love what I do, honestly,” she said. “Getting people the help they need is a really rewarding feeling.” 

Dispatchers monitor and coordinate responses to almost 1,500 surveillance cameras, plus Code Blue emergency phones, the walking escort program, elevator emergency phones, panic alarms, intrusion alarms, fire alarms and law enforcement activity. Its technology includes the TU siren, the TUalert notification system and the computer-aided dispatch system that interfaces with the Philadelphia Police Department’s 911 Emergency Dispatch Center.

“I’m proud to serve the Temple community because the university comes with a lot of Philly pride. I want the university and the city to prosper,” Ortiz said. 

During the week of April 10–16, TUDPS will highlight our dispatcher on Instagram (@TU_Police). We invite the community to join us in thanking and acknowledging their outstanding work by sending messages on social media.

“Dispatchers are the behind-the-scenes heros of public safety,” said TUDPS police chief and Vice President for Public Safety Jennifer Griffin. “They’re the first person someone might have contact when they call for assistance. They are all exceptional and we’re proud of their work.”