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Opioid Exposure - The Latest First Responder Health Hazard [Video]

Posted by Jackie Belasky

Oct 26, 2016 12:24:45 PM

Communities across the country are dealing with the troubling rise in opioid addiction, resulting in higher numbers of drug overdoses. For example, officials in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, recently found that drug overdoses in the first seven months of 2016 have already surpassed those reported for the entirety of 2015.

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Some NYC Prison Guards Will Be Armed With Tasers

Posted by Jackie Belasky

Oct 12, 2016 2:58:03 PM

Some NYC prison guards will soon carry tasers, leading to questions about safety.


Prison guards have a variety of ways to protect themselves from violent inmates. For instance, at Rikers Island Jail in New York City, guards typically carry batons and pepper spray.

However, concerns about officer safety have led to a push for additional nonlethal armaments. This past summer, the correctional officers' union argued that their work was growing more dangerous. As a result, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced that 30 elite officers would be assigned Tasers to help them break up fights and other violent activity at the prison, reports The Atlantic's CityLab.

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Topics: Corrections, Training

Austin EMS Medics May Get Relief In New Schedules [Video]

Posted by Jackie Belasky

Oct 6, 2016 1:40:14 PM

Exhausted and overworked EMS medics are more likely to struggle on the job and leave their positions sooner than expected. In Austin, Texas, a new plan hopes to offer relief by transitioning workers from 48-hour shifts to a 42-hour week.

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Topics: EMS, Staffing

Shortage of Officers and Other Gaps Found In University Of Texas Security [Video]

Posted by Jackie Belasky

Sep 28, 2016 1:39:27 PM

This past spring, a student at the University of Texas at Austin was found dead near the campus Alumni Center. After the death was ruled a homicide, the campus public safety department took another look at its security policies.

This report suggested a number of safety improvements, including better lighting and video surveillance systems. It also found that there was a shortage of officers regularly patrolling the campus, and called for staffing additions.

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Topics: Campus Police, Staffing

San Jose Faces Police Staffing Emergency [Video]

Posted by Jackie Belasky

Sep 22, 2016 8:13:42 PM

The San Jose City Council has voted to declare a state of emergency over a serious police staffing shortage.

The city's police department has struggled with reassigning officers from investigations to patrol duty. As a result, calls have gone unanswered and many residents have complained of excessive delays.

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Topics: Police, Staffing

Nebraska Prison Guard Assault Highlights Staffing Struggles

Posted by Jackie Belasky

Sep 8, 2016 3:31:30 PM

Ensuring that there is adequate personnel present at correctional facilities at all times is crucial.


The assault of nine staff members at the Lincoln Correctional Center in Lincoln, Nebraska has once again demonstrated the serious risks that prisons take on when they are understaffed.

The attack occurred on the evening of August 24. The Lincoln Journal-Star reported that inmates at the medium/maximum security prison refused to return to their cells when ordered and began assaulting staff members, pepper spraying several of them. Though nine staffers were hospitalized, all are expected to recover.

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Topics: Corrections, Staffing

Police Officers Need More Medical Training

Posted by Jackie Belasky

Aug 31, 2016 4:41:42 PM

Police need to know how to treat crime victims on the scene.


Shortly after the July police shooting that occurred in Dallas, in which five officers were killed and nine others were injured, Dallas Police Chief David Brown publicly lamented that the public was "asking cops to do too much in this country."

"Every societal failure, we put it off on the cops to solve," he said during a press conference after the event, according to the Washington Post. "Not enough mental health funding, let the cops handle it. … Here in Dallas we got a loose dog problem; let's have the cops chase loose dogs. Schools fail, let's give it to the cops. … That's too much to ask. Policing was never meant to solve all those problems."

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Topics: Law Enforcement, Police, Training

Kansas City Strikes Salary Deal With Firefighter Union [Video]

Posted by Jackie Belasky

Aug 25, 2016 3:15:55 PM

Maintaining a full-service fire department on a tight budget can be difficult. One of the greatest challenges that municipal governments face is negotiating wage deals with labor unions.

If not kept under control, wages can overwhelm budgets. In Kansas City, Missouri, the city council just voted to approve a four-year wage deal that will give firefighters and ambulance workers annual raises of 2.6 percent. This is higher than what was initially budgeted in the city's five-year plan, and could be difficult to finance.

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Topics: Fire, Budget, Overtime

Federal, State Prisons Lack Adequate Staff Ratios

Posted by Jackie Belasky

Aug 18, 2016 9:38:00 AM

Some prisons are laying off staff members after states cut their budgets.


A lack of adequately trained staff members in correctional facilities harms performance in multiple areas. Personnel limits make it difficult for existing staff members to maintain order among inmates. The chance of escape increases, which poses a danger to surrounding communities. Finally, staffing issues can leave guards more vulnerable to physical assaults by aggravated inmates.

This is becoming a problem in all levels of government. For instance, last year the Washington Post reported that the federal inmate-to-staff ratio stood at 4.4:1, a number that many officials in the U.S. Bureau of Prisons considered to be too high.

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Topics: Workforce Management, Corrections

Public Sector Must Prepare For New FLSA Overtime Rule

Posted by Jackie Belasky

Aug 10, 2016 6:12:31 PM

The new overtime rule will require public departments to improve their scheduling management.


In the public sector, overtime can be a big expense, especially if enough isn't done to keep it under control. We've written before on this blog about how spiraling overtime costs are responsible for bloated municipal budgets, threatening service levels and leading to unwanted tax increases.

Could things get worse? If cities and towns do not rethink their current scheduling processes it certainly could. Inefficient scheduling can lead to unnecessary shifts, which can add up in short order. And soon, many municipalities will face a new test: At the end of this year, state and local governments will find that millions more employees will qualify for overtime.

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Topics: Workforce Management, Overtime

About Orion Communications

As workforce management and data interface experts, Orion Communications is a leading provider of public safety workforce management software.  Orion’s AgencyWeb® software helps agencies simplify complex workforce management processes and reduce labor cost. Orion has been serving the public safety industry since 1998 and is a certified women-owned business headquartered in Dallas, Texas.

For more information, please contact Jackie Belasky at 214-361-1203, #2413 or jbelasky@orioncom.com.