This special feature highlights individual NENA Members from various backgrounds, industry segments, experience and geographic locations. It offers members an opportunity to share their story with their colleagues and the greater NENA community.Click here to email NENA Member Services Director Bri Robinson if we should feature you or someone you know.
NENA: Tell us a little bit about who you are, where you’re from, what you do, and your history with NENA….
Pat Shumate: I was born in West Virginia but
spent my teenage years in Roanoke. I
graduated HS in 1968 and went into the Navy. After 4 years I came home spent a
couple of years in college, got married and joined the Roanoke Police
Department in 1976. I retired from the PD in 2000 and became the Chief
Communication Officer for the Roanoke County Emergency Communication Center.
I joined NENA circa 2001 and
was appointed to the Virginia E9-1-1 Wireless Board, later the E9-1-1 Services
Board, and served on that board for 10 years. During my time with Roanoke
County, the ECC has grown from a staff of 26 and a part of the Service Division
of the PD to a staff of 41 and the Emergency Communication side of the CommIT
Department. Our call load has more than
doubled. We have moved from the old Southview Center to the new County Public
Safety Center and merged the Town of Vinton 9-1-1 Center with ours and with state
of the art equipment and technology, we are one of the most modern centers in
NENA: What does 9-1-1 mean to you?
PS: I have worked both sides of the
radio and understand the symbiotic relationship between the 9-1-1 call center,
the emergency dispatch center, and the public safety responders. The system will not function without all
three factions and while we all feel "our job” is the most important, all would
be effective without all three.
NENA: Why did you choose a career in public safety?
PS: I am not exactly sure. I was going
to school, selling shoes at JC Penney when my wife became pregnant with our
first child. I needed a job, my previous
experience had been military and public service, so the police work seemed a
natural calling. Later, moving to
communications and 9-1-1 was a natural progression.
NENA: What do you like best about your job?
PS: I like everything about my
job. I like feeling like I have
contributed to my community. I like working
with the technology, meeting people around the State and country and exchanging
NENA: Is there a particular event or call that you are particularly proud of?
PS: I have never "dispatched”
calls, but I am proud of our Center. I
worked hard to learn how other localities solved similar problems and developed
ideas for features that I was able to provide input to the planning process for
our new center. The result of all of our
work and cooperation is a 9-1-1 center that is a showplace in this part of the
NENA: If you could convey one message to the public about 9-1-1 or being a 9-1-1 professional, what would it be?
PS: You will not "get rich” working
in 9-1-1. However, you will not find a more rewarding work, a
more fulfilling roll in your community, or a more important accomplishment than
in 9-1-1 and public safety.