Hall of Fame

In 2004, APCO Utah inducted the first members of our communications hall of fame to honor those who have contributed to furthering the development of public safety communications services and systems that serve the citizens of Utah.

2004 Hall of Fame Inductees

Milton L. Davis

Milt began his career in the Broadcast Business. From 1949 thru the early 80’s he was involved in private and public broadcast system and development for KSL and KUED Television. During the 70’s he worked with several state agencies to formulate plans to build and maintain common radio sites to serve the state of Utah for both broadcast and public safety needs. During his tenure at the University of Utah Channel 7, he applied for and received $5M in grants to construct a microwave backbone and translator system, which extended coverage into areas of rural Utah. He served as the operations manager of the state radio shop for four years before coming to Utah Communications Agency Network (UCAN) in 1998. Milt was involved in the development and construction of the UCAN system. His vision, dedication and development of wireless communications resources across Utah have given the citizens both television and public safety communications.

Christine L. Warren

Chris served as the first female President of the Utah Chapter of APCO. She had great success implementing the first formal Dispatcher Training Sessions presented in the State of Utah. Chris was a strong supporter of training tele-communicators in preparation for their day-to-day responsibilities. Since those early days training has become a staple at conferences, seminars, and specialized events. It is part of the vision which as led to formalized training activities and certification for dispatchers. She served as the Dispatch Supervisor for the University of Utah Police Department for 10 years, and as the Training Supervisor for Valley Emergency Communications Center for 5 Years. She currently serves as an Emergency Medical Services Regional Coordinator for the Utah State Department of Health.

Esperanza Evans

Esperanza “Espie” Evans began her career with Salt Lake County in 1966. She was one of the first female dispatchers in the State of Utah, replacing sworn Deputies previously in the position. In her 30-year career, Espie saw just about everything. She was on duty during the Kearns mid-air collision and the hotel explosion at the Goldminer’s Daughter in Alta. The citizen’s of Salt Lake County greatly benefited from her knowledge and experience. Espie served on many committees working hard to improve the professionalism, training and certifications of dispatchers throughout the State of Utah. She was associated with APCO, PSDAU, IPA, UPEA, POST and the Utah Business Women’s Association. Her effoerts helped further the profession of dispatching for all of us. Espie retired as a Dispatch Supervisor in 1997.

Craig M. Jorgensen

Craig Jorgensen is the father if Project 25, a standard for mobile radio communications recognized worldwide. He served as National APCO President from 1983-1984. He also served as President of the National Association of State Telecommunications Directors (NASTD). He is a nationally recognized expert in public safety telecommunications and has held numerous committee assignments for all facets of public safety radio. In a thirty- year career with the State of Utah, Craig implemented numerous systems and services affecting all facets of telecommunications and data services for several departments and divisions. He has always exhibited great innovation and vision in developing products and services to serve user agencies. His efforts during his career resulted in development of shared systems and services reducing costs and maximizing resources. After retiring form the State of Utah he started Quantum Telecommunications a Salt Lake City based consulting firm. He is a life member of APCO, NASTD and a fellow in the Radio Club of America.

Robert T. Marz

Bob was a member of the Intermountain APCO Chapter in 1966. (The Chapter included Idaho, Utah, Wyoming and Nevada). Recognizing a need, Bob was instrumental in starting the Utah APCO Chapter in 1972. Bob has served as the Frequency Coordinator for Utah since December of 1966. He served on the National Executive Council Form 1980 to 1994. He was the Exhibits Chairman of the 1983 and 2001 National Conferences in Salt Lake City Utah and has been a member of the Automated Frequency Advisory Committee from 1992 to 2004. He also was part of APCO’s needs analysis Team for three iterations of software used for the Frequency Coordination System. Bob served as a Radio Engineer for the State of Utah from August 1960 to January of 1998.

Steven H. Proctor 

Steve Served as National APCO President from 1994 to 1995. His Chapter experience includes three terms as Chapter President and service in other offices. He was chairman of the National Conference in Salt Lake City in 1983. He is a nationally recognized authority and expert in the public safety telecommunication field. He has served on advisory committees to the Federal Communications Commission, the PSWN Program and project SACECOM. He co-wrote legislation to found the Utah Communications Agency Network (UCAN). This network provides communications services to over one hundred agencies for 12000 users. He was successful in obtaining Federal Funding to offset the cost of the system. This network supported public safety and the Salt Lake Organizing Committee during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. It continues to expand and grow in support of public safety communications services. He has several published articles. He Is a Life Member of APCO and a Fellow in the Radio Club of America.

2005 Hall of Fame Inductees

Erich Family
For nearly 22 years, the Erich family of Washam, Wyoming answered 911 calls and dispatched police, fire and medical units out of their home for residents and visitors in Daggett County, Utah. They also monitored the marine band radio for the area. While manning the family’s home-based business, the Erich’s listened for the phone to ring. During the night, they turned up the volume on the ringer to hear any calls that came in as they slept. From 1984 until their retirement in July of 2005, they didn’t go out to dinner, on vacation, hunting or fishing as a family-someone was always at home. The family refused monetary payment for their work, donating over 184,000 hours of service. There are just over 900 full time residents in Daggett County, but nearly 80 percent of the calls the Erich family received were from people vacationing in Flaming Gorge, which is within 5 miles of their home.

Jake Hunt

Jake Hunt is a 35-year veteran of public-safety. His career highlights include service with the Davis County Sheriff’s, Davis County Communications, as a Life Flight paramedic, and Operations Manager for the Utah Communications Agency Network. Jake’s unique perspective has allowed him to have an in depth understanding from the ground up as to the operational requirements for dispatch centers and communications systems to serve the user’s in the field. In his responsibilities in Davis County and today at UCAN he strives to support those in the field with the best communications available. His involvement in the filed has included development of sites and facilities, dispatch centers and management of one of the most complex public safety radio networks in the country. He has served as a Utah APCO President, on the Governors Taskforce on Wireless Communications and numerous committees for the furthering of public safety communications in Utah. His can-do attitude insures that communications are available to the users as needed when needed.

Carol Groustra

Carol Groustra has an extensive background in telecommunications services that began approximately 27 years ago as a dispatcher for the Utah Highway Patrol. Carol continued to serve as a dispatch supervisor, statewide dispatch coordinator, and is currently the Director of the Communications Bureau for the State of Utah, Department of Public Safety. Highlights of Carol’s career include being a member of the Utah 911 Committee Task Force, member of the Utah State EMS Bureau Dispatch Subcommittee, APCO National Executive Council Representative and Chapter President, and as a member of the Governor’s Task Force of Wireless Communications. Carol is a graduate of the Utah Law Enforcement Institute and the Utah Certified Public Managers Program. Carol created the “Dispatcher Standard Operating Procedure Manual” for the State of Utah and implemented the State of Utah’s Dispatcher Standards and Certification Training Program. Carol says the secret to her success is to “Surround yourself with people smarter than you and give them opportunities to shine.”

2006 Hall of Fame Inductees

Cindy Mason 

Tamra Weese 

Tamra Weese began her career in emergency communications in 1974 as a dispatcher with Ogden City. She progressed from dispatcher to supervisor and on to manager of the Ogden Dispatch Center. Even after 30 years in this field, she maintains that love for what she does and after a brief stint at retirement, has come back to continue doing what she loves. Tammy was instrumental in the formation of the Critical Incident Stress Debriefing Team. She has been a key factor in that the CISD team has continued and evolved, and to the excellent manner in which it provides assistance to emergency services responders today. Most dispatchers in the State of Utah recognize the name of Tammy Weese as being synonymous with the effort to recognize the need for a 20-year retirement program for dispatchers. Tammy worked long, hard hours to network with and get the issue before the political leaders within our state. Although a legislative approval is yet to be made, notable steps have been made that still make it possible. Of the many positives that have come from the improved retirement benefit effort is a standard of training and certification for dispatchers, showing that the dispatcher is a critical part of the public safety team. Tammy was an integral member of the committee that developed the initial training curriculum through POST. Another accomplishment for Tammy is being the initiator of the Amy Armstrong Foundation. This is a foundation formed upon the death of an Ogden City firefighter. The donations collected through this foundation go towards grants for public safety personnel who are working to further their education.

2007 Hall of Fame Inductees
Michol Abraham

Michol began dispatching in 1981 and was promoted to supervisor in 1986. Over her career she has been the recipient of numerous awards including EMS dispatcher of the year. Michol was one of Utah’s first certified Emergency Medical Dispatchers and was at the first State EMD Conference in 1983. Michol helped to design the heat/cold and hanging/strangulation cards for Utah EMS.

Michol was the Conference Chair for the 2001 International Conference and Exposition in Salt Lake City. She served twice as Utah APCO’s Chapter President along with Vice President , Secretary/Treasurer and Committee Member along with Past President of the Utah Public Safety Dispatch Association of Utah. Michol has spent her career sharing her knowledge and skills with other dispatchers and public safety members as an instructor for POST, EMS and Utah Valley State College Dispatch Academy. Using her vast knowledge she can also be credited with implementing EMD, Fire and Police quality assurance for Orem Public Safety.

Ken Imber

Ken Imber began his career with the Salt Lake City Department of Airports in 1981 as a Police Officer, but his background in electronics quickly led him to a position working in the airport radio shop. Ken’s dedication to his work and his forward-thinking attitude helped advance the Airport’s radio system from two channels to the modern, multi-jurisdictional system that they use today, which handles an average of 8,000 calls daily.

Ken has had many achievements over the 26 years he was worked with the Airport, including the development of a simulcast system to incorporate Salt Lake City Police, Fire, Public Works, and Airport radio system. He was also instrumental in the development, installation, and maintenance of numerous other radio systems for aviation, public-safety dispatch, security screening, and flight safety. His dedication and behind-the-scenes devotion has made him a great asset to those he serves.

2008 Hall of Fame Inductee
Gary Lancaster

Gary Lancaster began his career in public safety as an officer with the Sandy Police Department. During a 24 year career with Sandy Police, Gary worked in various positions and divisions, including serving as the Police Chief for 7 years.

He left Sandy Police to accept a position at Valley Emergency Communications Center (VECC) as the Assistant Director, which he held for 11 years. While employed at VECC, Gary served as the Chairman for the Utah State 911 Committee, was a tireless dispatch proponent regarding legislative issues, and was instrumental in furthering the skills of the Center’s supervisors by having them attend the IACP Leadership course and become certified through the state’s CPM program. He was the project manager during the construction of VECC’s new dispatch center and ensured a smooth transition of the Center’s radio system from the VHF/UHF conventional system to the UCAN 800 Mhz trunking system.

Since leaving VECC, Gary has worked as a consultant on dispatch center consolidation projects around the country and was a presenter at APCO’s National Convention regarding this subject. He has also been working with UCAN on the 800 Mhz radio system rebanding project and his expertise on this project has made him sought after by other states to assist them with their projects. Gary is a supportive member of APCO, as well as NENA and is a life member of IACP.

Gary has devoted much of his life to the public safety field and it is partly through his efforts that public safety dispatching in Utah is what it is today.

2012 Hall of Fame Inductee
Jeff Dial
Jeff Dial began his career in 1990 working as a dispatcher and paramedic for Dixie Ambulance. He decided he enjoyed dispatching and when the opportunity came he took a full time position in dispatch and was promoted to supervisor and center manager, but still ran with Dixie Ambulance until approximately 2009. Jeff worked tirelessly for the benefit of the center. He loved the work, and helped to make the Washington County Dispatch Center a state of the art communications point for Southern Utah. He stayed on the cutting edge of technology and tried his best to be the center to purchase or install the latest and greatest equipment. Accomplishments included building a county wide call center, pioneering the introduction of the 800MHz radio system in the region, and ensuring interoperability among a wide range of agencies, especially during the floods of 2005 and 2010.

Jeff was involved with many committees and sat on many communication boards. He was well known around the state as a “go to” guy in the communications field. He was respected by all.

Although Jeff loved his work, he loved his family more. He was so proud of all of them and talked about them all the time. He would always say how lucky he was to have a wife like Sherri, who understood his passion of work and let him be the man he is and still loved him anyway… even when he had to respond to an emergency at 2 in the morning and work 24hrs straight on projects that needed his attention. She understood that carrying a radio to breakfast, lunch, dinner, church, birthdays and vacations was what he did and never complained about the radio being his “constant companion.”

It was a privilege and honor to work with Jeff Dial. He taught us all the importance of work and family. He developed an atmosphere that we all wanted to work in and continue the desire to keep alive today. His friendship was constant throughout difficult and trying times. His integrity was never questioned. There is no question the void he left will be difficult to live up to; our only hope is that we honor his life by trying.

2013 Hall of Fame Inductee
Gigi Smith, VECC

Gigi Smith is this year’s inductee to the Utah APCO Hall of Fame. It’s difficult to list all of Gigi’s many accomplishments in the field of Public Safety Communications, because there are so many. In the 1990s, Gigi was the catalyst for the first ever Utah POST dispatch curriculum and manual, and then was part of the executive committee that directed the updated version of that curriculum again in 2010. She’s brought NCMEC training to Utah, and ensured that her PSAP completed all the requirements to be designated as a NCMEC partner.

At the chapter level, Gigi served as President, Vice President, 1 and 2 year committee member, and Executive Council Representative. She’s also served in numerous chapter and international capacities, including membership and leadership positions on the Awards, Editorial Advisory, 9-1-1 Emerging Technology, Management, and Governance Committees. She is always in the forefront of legislative issues that impact emergency communications, and tirelessly works to bring her experience and knowledge to those around her, both in her assignments within APCO, and at her PSAP, Valley Emergency.

Her influence in Public Safety Communications continues to grow, with her current responsibilities as APCO International President. It is Utah APCO’s honor to induct Gigi Smith into the Hall of Fame.

2014 Hall of Fame Inductee
Debbie Mecham 

Deborah Mecham began her career as a dispatcher for the Roy City Police Department, a single agency, where she would have an officer or two on duty and a small part-time fire department available as needed. She progressed from those early days as the lone dispatcher on duty, to Administrative Assistant to the Chief of Police and supervisor for seven full time and ten part time dispatchers, then to the role as Executive Director of the Weber Area 911 District where she oversaw the consolidation of services into a single Center of over sixty employees. She now continues in her career as the Executive Director for the Utah Valley Dispatch Special Service District, leading a medium sized agency with over forty employees who provide 911 and dispatch services to over 25 agencies. That adds up to a staggering 38 years serving the public and her co-workers!

To say that Debbie has seen it all would be an understatement. Her career began before the usage of 911 became widespread in the State of Utah and you had to dial a seven digit number to reach an officer, to today where we are transitioning into Next Generation 911 with its possibilities of text and video communications. One or two phone lines have become trunk lines bringing in calls; one or two radio channels have become computerized screens with dozens of channels; pens and paper have become computers and CAD.

Throughout her career, Debbie has recognized the importance of information and education for the dispatchers. Early on, Debbie joined APCO where she could share her ideas, skills and abilities with others in the field. From her involvement with APCO, she was able to incorporate ideas and improvements to her own agency. Excited at what she had learned, she was always eager to share her information with other agencies as well. She is sought out by her colleges as an expert in consolidation and dispatch taxing districts.

Debbie has served in many capacities in APCO, most notably as the President of the Utah Chapter; she currently serves on the State 911 Committee and has been the chair of that committee; she also serves on the POST Dispatch Curriculum committee and continues to advocate for certification for all dispatchers statewide. Through her service, Debbie has worked to provide better training, certifications and funding to the field of emergency services dispatching.

Debbie’s career has been an example of change in dispatching. She has always considered how the improvement in technology, the innovations in training, and the updating of skills can be done at the best cost and in the best way so the dispatchers in her own agencies and across the state can give great service to the officers, fire fighters, EMTs and citizens.

For her contributions to APCO and the field of emergency services dispatching, Debbie Mecham is inducted into the Utah APCO Hall of Fame.

2015 Hall of Fame Inductees

Tina Scarlet 

Tina has been an integral part of many changes in Public Safety Communications in her more than 24 years of being a part of the Public Safety Family.

Tina began her career as a dispatcher for Salt Lake Valley Emergency Communications Center in 1991 as a dispatcher and supervisor.  Her next career advancement was with Layton City Police Department where she was Manager for 10 years.  In 2009, she moved to Weber 

Area 911 & Emergency Services District where she currently serves as the Executive Director

In Tina’s time in Public Safety Communications service, she has participated on many task forces and served in many leadership roles. She has served as Board Member, Vice President, President, and Executive Council in Utah APCO, including the Management Services committee for APCO International.  She has also been a leader on the 911 Committee, and a UCAN and UCA board member since 2006, and chairperson since 2012.  

Tina is an advocate for anything Dispatch: training, up-grades, technology, ,cost sharing and networking. She’s served as the Legislative liaison for the 911 Committee and Utah APCO, and contributed towards legislation in support of Public Safety Communications, often being the voice of dispatch to legislators and other state leaders.  

She’s always been an advocate for providing the citizens of Utah with the best public safety costs at the least price. Tina goes above and beyond.  

Utah APCO is proud to induct Tina Scarlet into the Utah APCO Hall of Fame.

Dr. Jeff Clawson – Priority Dispatch / IAED

In 1977, Dr. Jeff Clawson began to develop protocols for use by dispatchers. These protocols became known as Medical Priority Dispatching and were introduced throughout the Salt Lake City Fire Department. The original EMD program Dr. Jeff Clawson created was a set of key questions, post-dispatch, and pre-arrival instructions for medical emergencies that dispatchers could provide over the telephone. High dispatcher compliance to a medically approved, standardized protocol was Dr. Clawson’s concept for managing emergency service resources in critical patient care. Clawson’s early efforts have now developed into the Medical, Fire, and Police Priority Dispatching Systems.

Since that time,  the National Academy of Emergency Medical Dispatch, and later, the International Academy was formed as a certifying and standard development organization for both emergency medical dispatch protocols and curriculum.

As Dr. Clawson has stated throughout his career, building emergency dispatch protocols is complicated science, and proper emergency dispatch response depends upon the logic systems, testing, and quality assurance of these protocols.

International Academy membership now comprises over 54,000 certified members in nearly 3,000 communications centers dedicated to the public safety profession.

Dr. Clawson’s vision of developing a comprehensive protocol for Medical response has continued to evolve in today’s communications profession.  Whether dispatchers use the Priority Dispatch product or one from another vendor, the roots of the structured interrogation and pre-arrival instructions can be traced back to Dr. Clawson.  His contributions have had a significant impact on the way communications and EMS professionals perform their jobs every day, in Utah and around the world.  Utah APCO is pleased to induct Dr. Jeff Clawson into the Hall of Fame.