TCWeek
2021 Technician of the Year – Andrew Doughty

2021 Technician of the Year – Andrew Doughty

Performing in a team environment and playing an active part in resolving issues collaboratively is essential in public safety.  Add dispatch staff that are Type A personalities with no waiting period for getting the work done, and a level of communication that meets the needs of a diverse work force – Andrew shows up.  Andrew is extremely knowledgeable.  CRESA has employees that specialize with the phone system, CAD, MDC’s and interfaces.  Andrew is able to take what he has learned from those staff and apply that knowledge to day-to day trouble shooting, streamlining of processes, and implementation of LEAN processes to take out the extra work. 

COVID created a different way of remote working in all dispatch centers.  Rooms full of people working in close proximity.  Andrew was able to establish a means of delivering information allowing for support staff to socially distance.  He implemented cameras, mics, and “at-home” workstations along with remote links that allowed for staff to connect while maintaining security measures.  In addition, Andrew worked closely with the training division to establish a means of delivering required inservice training in a group environment while maintaining distance and healthy connections for staff to get required information and complete tasks to maintain certifications. 

2021 ramped up the process of CRESA’s CAD upgrade with their current vendor.  Andrew worked closely with the vendor and the technical team identifying the need of additional server requirements.  CRESA is unique in that they have an internal technology division that has the oversight of all things related to CAD, phone, radio system hardware and software while having to partner and collaborate with Clark County IT, a division that has their own policies, practices, and security measures.  Add the dynamics of a pandemic world suffering the strains of equipment shortages and shipping delays.  Andrew worked tirelessly to ensure servers and firewalls were shipped, delivered, configured and implemented appropriately to maintain security and measures outlined by County IT as well as cyber secure practices on the CRESA side.  To say that the task of this implementation was frustrating, cumbersome, and lengthy would be an understatement, however, Andrew was tenacious, patient, and pleasant throughout.  He communicates well, keeps management staff and operational staff abreast of change, status and hurdles with proposed solutions for each issue.

When the technical team is faced with an issue to resolve, Andrew, while soft spoken, is quick to provide practical solutions.  He has a can-do attitude, works well with all outside agents, dispatch staff, and support staff.

Andrew takes immense pride and ownership in his role as CRESA’s IT Specialist.  When Andrew is asked to complete a task, determines issues that need attention or represents CRESA, he does so with knowledge, communication, and professionalism.

CRESA is unique in that areas of the network are under the Clark County umbrella when it comes to maintenance, support, and integration.  In addition, CRESA technical staff manage and support the technical public safety provision.  You can understand the complexities of competing priorities for each entity when it comes to security measures, interface capabilities, network administration, etc.

Andrew has managed the communication link with the County and has been quick to identify where there are potential security gaps.  Andrew has recognized cyber security risks and cyber threats and collaborated with County IT to take a proactive approach in mitigating those threats.  Andrew has had to communicate and advocate for the importance of cyber security as it relates to protected information in the CAD system, CJIS requirements and the need to spotlight the impacts of network maintenance on the CAD system of a public safety provision.

In addition, Andrew has adapted to the culture of the 911 Public Safety environment.  He communicates directly with dispatch staff to understand their needs and wants.  He is able to compartmentalize each, prioritize by importance, and then assess and act on those requests.  Andrew takes time to understand the work, the stressors and the importance of each person’s job at CRESA.  He retains that information and looks for ways to make jobs easier and provide technical support in a timely fashion while paying attention to cost effectiveness.   

CRESA has a help desk provision that provides support to Clark County public safety providers 27/7.  In addition, technical staff share on-call support throughout the year where they are to be available 24/7 on the weekends and holidays.  This on-call provision is all things dispatch, law enforcement, fire, and EMS.  In the middle of the night, on weekends and holidays, call out tech support is a party of one to assess, diagnose, and repair issues.  Andrew has demonstrated consistent proficiency in resolving issues.  When he has not been able to repair the problem, he researches, networks with his peers, and works until full restoration.  Andrew has not missed a page or call out and no matter the day or night, he is pleasant, compassionate, and works toward resolution.  He is tenacious

  • Describe the nominee’s overall performance throughout the year?

Andrew is the ideal employee.  He shows up to work early and stays until the needs of the day are met.  He communicates status of pending issues, the whys to how things work and why they are in place.  Andrew seeks to understand; not only an issue, but why processes are in place, what makes things difficult or easy for dispatchers, and how he can augment and provide support. 
While “never” is a strong word, Andrew has never been heard speaking negatively of co-workers, policy, or how things are done.  Andrew finds the good in things and readily communicates that good.  He is kind, genuine, and receptive to feedback.         

Customer service in public safety is relevant and necessary.  As public servants, we are slated with a duty to serve those in need with competency, consistency and empathy.  Those requirements are no different for those that serve as technical support for public safety services.  Andrew is competent in the work he does.  He is adept with CRESA’s systems, interfaces, and processes.  Andrew is a problem-solver where he makes sense of the issue no matter how it is relayed to him.  When he engages with users that are not clear as to how or why something isn’t working for them, only relaying that it just isn’t working, Andrew clarifies information, drills down to what the person was doing, the equipment they were using, and the steps they were moving through when they encountered trouble.  He does this by asking clear questions, showing patience as whomever he is working with provides information, and he demonstrates empathy as he understands the frustration that is being experienced. 

Andrew exhibits this behavior with EVERYONE he encounters.  He makes people feel important and valued.  While he may be pressed to meet a deadline, he conveys a genuine interaction that leaves people feeling heard and understood.  Andrew then sets timelines for next steps and if he cannot meet them or does not have resolution, he communicates the barriers he has run up against and when the person can expect an update.

Andrew takes interest in people and what they are working through both professionally and personally.  Andrew treats everyone the same, provides service, and makes people feel valued.

Andrew stands out with a quiet strength.  He takes in all facets of situations and then takes action.  Andrew has a humility where he recognizes his strengths and limitations without defensiveness or judgement.  He sees life as a school where he can take in information and apply it to the betterment of himself and others.   Andrew is able to apply his humility and grace to the hard lines of technical support.  He is smart and capable, however, he exhibits no arrogance as he helps others.

Andrew supports.  He is motived.  He is a self-starter.  He engages people.  Andrew finds solutions and is quick to assist.  He is conscientious and collaborates with others when necessary to repair and fix problems.  He does not Andrew has made a measurable impact on CRESA, its staff, and the agents that contract services.  He resolves tickets for service and repair in a timely manner.  He communicates throughout the process and he remains true to his desire to help people.

Andrew has indicated many times that he does not know how dispatchers do the work they do with the traumatic events that transpire form the calls they receive.  He has also indicated that he could never do a dispatcher’s job.  Andrew is great right where he is doing the work that others cannot do.  There are issues and distressful events that take down CAD, phone and radio systems.  Andrew is the one in the background doing the work to keep those systems online, always supporting and providing positive and healthy interaction.

Andrew has been working at CRESA since April 18th, 2016; almost six years of providing technical support to dispatch staff, responders, and CRESA Agency staff.  Prior to employment at CRESA, Andrew was the IT Specialist for Albina Fuel.  While Andrew did not know the depths of public safety that he would be swimming in to, he took to it like a duck to water.  CRESA has found Andrew to be an adaptable, flexible, and reliable employee.

Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency – CRESA is a consolidated 911 center serving nearly 500,000 residents in Clark County, Washington.  CRESA provides 911 emergency, 311 non-emergency call-taking and dispatch, technology support services, radio integration and emergency management coordination. 

CRESA’s service area includes Clark County and each of its seven cities – Battle Ground, Camas, LaCenter, Ridgefield, Vancouver, Washougal, Yacolt and Woodland in Cowlitz County.  911 Operations for CRESA dispatches for 27 Police, Fire and EMS agencies.  Last year, in 2021, average call volume per day was 1,600 calls.   There were over 335,000 police incidents and over 112,000 Fire and EMS calls. 

CRESA employs six operational supervisors, 44 dispatchers, five Leads, two call takers, and has four dispatch trainees working toward certification with a continual open dispatcher recruitment running in the background.

CRESA is supported by the Director, Deputy Director, a Training Coordinator, and additional management and support staff that work to provide maintenance and upkeep behind the scenes to provide 911, 311, and emergency management services to the Clark County constituency.

As the CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch) and IT Technician, Andrew is the “Jack of all trades and effects” related to Information Technology that surround the hardware, software, and machinery that support the dispatch functions that CRESA provides.

Andrew maintains, implements, upgrades, and troubleshoots all of the assigned technology at CRESA.  This tasking is related to CAD, database support, desktop, server, telephonic, and help desk support.  Andrew monitors the system, verifies integrity and availability of all hardware, server resources, systems, and key processes.  If that is not enough, Andrew is a part of the help desk support team providing resources to Clark County emergency service agencies, responders, dispatchers, and County employees.  

As the IT Technician for CRESA, Andrew plays an integral role in obtaining, maintaining and practicing knowledge of ALL the systems that “tentacle” in to and out of CAD, the phone and radio systems: the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone System), the Emergency Services IP Network, GIS/Mapping,  Next Generation 9-1-1, ANI/ALI (Automated Number Indicator / Automated Location Indicator), Unit Recommendations, Response Plans, GIS / Mapping, and external interfaces such as Locution, CAD Voice, Live MUM, Informer / NCIC / WACIC, and various record management systems (RMS).

As if the above responsibility is not enough, Andrew is expected to work on-call rotation every few weeks, be flexible, professional, and maintain his working knowledge that is ever-changing.