Yates County 911 chief dispatcher dies of Covid

John Christensen
The Chronicle Express

YATES COUNTY -- A statement released Nov. 1 by Yates County Sheriff Ron Spike revealed that one of the most valued members of the Sheriff's Office and her husband have both died from complications of COVID-19:

Yates County 911 Chief Dispatcher Sandra L. Smith (second from right) when she was recognized by the N.Y. State Sheriff's Association and the County Legislature for her efforts in the 5-year reaccreditation of the 911 Center earlier this year.

"It is with deep regret that we announce the passing of Yates County 911 Chief Dispatcher Sandra L. Smith, age 52, who died this afternoon November 1, 2021 at Geneva General Hospital from respiratory failure due to Covid-19 complications. Sandra is a huge part of the Yates County Sheriff’s Office family, and will be greatly mourned and missed by staff and friends.

"Sandra Cleveland Smith was a Dundee area native, and a Yates County employee for over 32 years. She joined Yates County Sheriff’s Office as a Fire Dispatcher in 1989 when only 20 years old and was appointed an Emergency Services Dispatch in 1991. She was promoted to Senior Dispatcher in 2001 and the Chief Dispatcher in 2002, a position she has held since. In 2014, she was awarded the NYS Sheriffs Institute’s Communications Officer of the Year that she received in Albany. Additionally, Sandra was well known across New York State as a 9-1-1 Accreditation Assessor for the N.Y.S. Sheriff’s Association 911 Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) Accreditation program. Sandra was also a certified General Topics Instructor recognized by NYS-DCJS. She also had completed Peace Officer training and often helped with Jail Security Control Room operations. She is also recognized with major contributions to the accreditation policies and training standards achieved by the Yates County 911 Communications Center originally received in 2006, and the PSAP has been reaccredited every five years since. She is also the longtime Treasurer for the N.Y.S. 911 Coordinators’ Association. That Association presented her with their statewide Achievement Award in 2017. Additionally for several years she contributed greatly to the success of the public safety dispatching at the Schuyler County Sheriff’s Watkins Glen International Raceway headquarters, and worked part-time for Watkins Glen Police Dept. and the Schuyler Sheriff's Office.

"Sadly, her husband Ross Smith passed away from cardiac arrest just two weeks ago (Oct. 15) at Geneva General Hospital while Sandra was already hospitalized. She is survived by her two children Josh and Savanna and relatives.

"Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time."