San Diego Association of Public Safety Dispatchers
Supervisor Leadership Award
Palomar College Police Department
Please describe in 500 words or less why the nominee should receive this award:
Nieves Suarez is the heart and soul of the Palomar College Police Department's Dispatch Center. The campus police department serves a population of over 30,000 students, 24/7/365. As the coordinator, she also served as the only full time dispatcher until two new hires in the Fall of 2019. She is a dispatcher on the floor, filling in for our part time staff on a moment’s notice. By coming in for a graveyard, swing or holiday shift she keeps the dispatch center operational. She coordinated all the purchasing for our dispatch center which opened in Fall of 2019. For nearly a year, she operated with her staff in another building away from the new police department while awaiting internet connectivity. Beyond selecting and overseeing the purchase and selection of all equipment, Nieves also serves as the primary contact to the IT department overseeing 200 CCTV cameras to help protect all four of our campuses. She provided pertinent information to the chain of command, justifying the hiring of the first two full time dispatchers in the Department’s 20 year history. She served on the selection committee to hire the two dispatchers, then was their primary trainer. She oversees the 24 hour operation as if it was her own family. She supervises up to 12 dispatchers, all but 10 are part time employees. She works with their personal schedule, school and secondary work requests. She holds monthly team meetings arranging for supplemental scheduling so all of her team can attend. This usually results in a 12-14 hour day for herself. She coordinated a CLETS audit which was successful. She also drafted policy to continue compliance with outside vendors. Nieves is a vital member of the Department’s leadership team providing input and support to her sworn and non-sworn peers. Nieves best and saddest days is when one of her folks leaves our agency to accept full time work as a dispatcher. Nieves has mentored, developed and encouraged her direct reports to seek opportunities with other agencies. She is proud to count former members with Oceanside, Escondido, Chula Vista, Coronado Police Departments as well as SDSO. In addition to her coordinator efforts, she also provided training to our current and former records supervisor and assists with the preparation of the Annual Security Report for the Department of Education. Beyond assisting the Department and developing our dispatchers, she also seeks continuous improvement. She was selected for a three week leadership school sponsored by the San Diego District Attorney’s Office. She is embedded in the extra reading and networking. This only adds to her role as a college student, mother of a teen age daughter and fiancé. Nieves is a unique person who can explain and delegate tasks, while still mastering the daily stressful work as a public safety dispatcher. As a retired member of the Phoenix Police Department with nearly 300 dispatchers, I realize Nieves serves as five people in our 60 person agency. Our Department truly could not run without her and she is one of the greatest people I have ever met!