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911 River Rally to help fund communications training

By Staff | Jun 11, 2011

The 911 staffers at the Lee County Sheriff’s Office are raising funds for advanced training by selling ducks — little plastic ones, that is.
The 911 River Rally, hosted by the LCSO Communications Training Team, will be held June 18 at Sun Splash Family Waterpark. At 5 p.m., those who bought a duck — or more — will race their feathered friend in the park’s Lazy River.
The first duck to cross the finish line will receive a $200 cash prize.
Second place wins $125 in cash, and third place will receive $75 in cash.
The last duck to float to the finish earns its owner a $50 cash jackpot.
“This is the second year of the duck race,” Chris Hodges, organizer and a communications training coordinator for the LCSO, said.
The fund-raiser is aimed at raising money to send the department’s 911 operators and team to advanced communications training and activities.
Last year, the group raised $1,500 and sold 500 to 700 ducks.
Hodges said the money was added to proceeds collected from their other fund-raisers. In the end, 11 people went to a conference, where they took a mix of classes and were able to bring that knowledge back to the agency.
“This year we’re hoping to send seven people,” she said.
The ducks are $2 each, or $5 for three. Purchase in advance, or day of.
“Obviously, we’d like to raise enough money to cover everybody’s costs,” Hodges said, adding that the cost for one person is close to $1,200.
Last year, one coordinator covered the $5,000 needed for the conference registrations, and the sheriff and the command staff also chipped in.
“This year, with the budgets and everything, we wouldn’t even expect anything to come out of the budget with the cuts being made,” Hodges said.
As of Friday, the group had sold “not very many ducks.”
“Sale are slow,” she said, adding that they are hoping to sell a good number of ducks the day of the race.
The park will be holding a Father’s Day special where dads get in free.
Hodges explained that the advanced training can cover a range of topics.
“Anything you can image,” she said.
Classes have covered active shooter situations, abducted child scenarios, hostage negotiations for 911 operators and even natural disaster events. In one training class, people who were dispatchers in Hurricane Katrina spoke.
“It was basically like a debriefing of everything that happened and what to expect,” Hodges said.
The training also covers the newest technologies in their field.
“Within the next five or so years, the technology that it takes to run a 911 center, whether it’s the phone or computer system, especially the radio,” she said. “These classes are the first to go over what’s going to be coming up.”
For more information about the 911 River Rally or to purchase ducks in advance, call the Lee County Sheriff’s Office at 477-1213 or 477-1222.
The ducks will also be available at Sun Splash on race day beginning at 10 a.m.
Sun Splash Family Waterpark is located at 400 Santa Barbara Blvd.