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NENA Member Spotlight: Pat Shumate

Wednesday, March 18, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Chris Nussman
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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 Southwest Virginia. 

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 ideas.

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 state.

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.