In the high-speed world of emergency response, dispatchers keep communications channels open. The people who fill this role are indispensable to agencies, and the demands of the job are numerous and unique. It's therefore worth focusing on dispatchers and, in particular, whether the role should be subject to certification.
Legislation Progressing in Idaho
Public safety agencies from multiple Idaho counties recently held a press conference to express support for a proposed law that would require dispatchers to become licensed, the Rexburg Standard Journal reported.
Fremont County Sheriff Len Humphries explained that it's common for dispatchers' work to be underrated. While some regard dispatching as a simple job, Humphries underlined the stress of the position and Idaho State Police Lieutenant Kevin Haight noted that the dispatcher is the first person who interacts with people facing traumatic situations, sometimes dispensing life-saving advice.
The public safety leaders support introducing certification for dispatcher positions to ensure that standards are upheld uniformly across the state, according to the Standard Journal. Agency chiefs want to ensure that everyone hired into such a position has a level of competence and readiness, leading to more predictable performance levels among new recruits.
The proposed training to achieve certification would involve two weeks of training, 80 hours in total. Recruits would learn GPS use, mapping, effective call taking, EMS procedures and more. Humphries noted that because positions like assisted living caretaker and nail technician require state certification, it's reasonable to expect the same attention be paid to emergency dispatchers.
For an example of specialized dispatcher training in action, look no further than the recent courses designed to help Chicago personnel deal with mental health emergencies. Local news outlet WLS specified that both patrolling police officers and 911 dispatchers are receiving new training focused on de-escalating fraught situations and minimizing negative or even tragic outcomes. One of the skills dispatchers are learning is recognizing a mental health crisis, in which case they then call on an officer who has received the relevant training.
Managing Skill Sets and Certifications
Being able to manage specialized training and active certifications can be time consuming and prone to errors. Agencies using public safety workforce management software are simplifying these processes and ensuring that all personnel - from dispatchers to first responders - have an accurate up-to-date training.
For example, with certification renewal alerting, authorized personnel are better able to keep certification levels current. Special skill sets and certifications include certification codes for compliance reporting and hours earned. Once specialized training courses have been completed, all results are recorded and automatically saved within each employee’s record. As a result, compliance risks are minimized -- along with any resulting liability.