Luke Awarded NPSTC’s DeMello Award
Monday, September 16, 2019 | Comments

The National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) awarded the 2019 Richard DeMello Award to Barry Luke, NPSTC deputy executive director from 2012 to July 2019. The DeMello award is presented to one individual in public-safety communications who has demonstrated the highest levels of personal and professional conduct and performance in the local, state and national public-safety communications arena.

For the past 45 years, Luke has been actively involved with public-safety communications at the local, state and national level. During the past seven years, he has provided vision, leadership and technological expertise in managing NPSTC's committees and working groups.

"Chief Luke has been a consistently intelligent, informed, Influential and committed force moving the ball steadily ahead in the public-safety communications arena,” said Kevin McGinnis, vice chair of NPSTC and former First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) board member.

Luke started his public safety career in 1974, at age 15, as a volunteer dispatcher for the Gainesville (Florida) Police Department. In 1988, while working as director of public-safety communications for the city of Gainesville, he helped convince local officials to support a countywide consolidated communications center that would bring all public-safety agencies into a single operation on the same radio platform. That mission was accomplished in 1996.

In 1997, he was hired by Orange County (Florida) Fire Rescue where he served in a variety of roles until his retirement in 2008. During those 11 years he helped manage dozens of natural disasters, including 2004 Hurricane Charley in 2014, which traveled directly over the agency's communications center. He received an award from the Congressional 9-1-1 Caucus on behalf of his agency's handling of emergency communications in the aftermath of the storm, which generated 465 emergency incidents that were holding for dispatch.

In 2008, Luke started working with NPSTC and was appointed deputy executive director in 2012 where he remained through his retirement in July. He is a life member of the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International.

The official presentation of the award will be made to Luke in New York City at the Radio Club of America (RCA) awards dinner Nov. 23.

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