They are the behind-the-scenes heroes, the first voice that someone in distress hears when they call 911 and an essential link for our first responders every single day, 24 hours a day. During the second week of April each year, we highlight our emergency dispatchers during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week for their dedication to helping people in crisis. This year, the Broward Sheriff’s Office also honors the memory of Communications Operator III Nikima Thompson.
Thompson was the first communications operator to die in the line of duty in Florida. She passed away in May of 2020 from COVID-19. While her death left a void, her friends and family will not forget the laughter and warmth she brought to everyone around her. In a job where people call you during one of the most critical moments of their lives, friends and co-workers say Thompson was committed to being the calm and caring voice on the other end of the line.
In honor of the way Thompson lived her life, BSO Regional Communications created the Nikima Thompson Citizenship Award, which will be presented annually to a communications operator or duty officer who exemplifies her selflessness, empathy, generosity, compassion and desire to make a difference. As one co-worker said, “The winner will be everything that Nikima embodied – the best friend that we didn’t know that we had – but all needed.”
The yellow/gold color of the award represents the Thin Gold Line – the color of Communication’s role in the public safety community. The inaugural award will be given to Communications Operator II Roxanne “Rocky” Haubrich. Co-workers and supervisors said Haubrich embodies all of the qualities that Thompson possessed and sets the example for others to follow, both on-duty and off-duty. Haubrich was involved in the creation and development of a mural and butterfly garden in memory of our fellow BSO employees we lost to COVID-19, she organized a rock garden at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to pay tribute to the students and faculty who died and each year she spearheads a holiday event at the Broward Children’s Center in Pompano Beach for the children and adults with special health care needs.