April 14 - 20, 2013 is National Public Safety Telecommunications Week, a time set aside to recognize the more than 200,000 individuals throughout the U.S. who play critical roles in the delivery of public safety services. Often called the "unsung heroes of public safety," these men and women provide a lifeline to both citizens in need and officers in the field. They serve as an unseen, but vital link in keeping law enforcement officers and the public safe at all times of the day or night.
National Public Safety Telecommunications Week was first conceived by Patricia Anderson of the Contra Costa County (Calif.) Sheriff's Office in 1981 and was observed only at that agency for three years. Members of the Virginia and North Carolina chapters of the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) became involved in the mid-1980s. By the early 1990s, the national APCO organization convinced Congress of the need for a formal proclamation. Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) introduced what became H.J. Res. 284 to create "National Public Safety Telecommunications Week." According to Congressional procedure, it was introduced twice more in 1993 and 1994, and then became permanent, without the need for yearly introduction.