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public safety telecommunication

You decide: should 9-1-1 telecommunicators be classified as a “Protective Service Occupation?”

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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Being a part of the security industry as a journalist, it intrigues me as to the wealth of security-related knowledge floating around out there in cyberspace, magazine articles, books, newspapers, tv … any and all media outlets really. Take just a moment and think about this: at any given time, we can access information via our smart devices about any topic we choose. Seriously, let that soak in for a minute … 

The conclusion? Knowledge is power, as the saying goes; there’s even a Twitter hashtag dedicated to the adage: #KnowledgeIsPower. And, as I learned from my dad, it’s the one thing no one can take away from you. But I want to challenge this with: knowledge is power, but taking action based on that knowledge is powerful. Knowing something is only half the battle; it’s action taken because of knowledge that creates power-filled outcomes that truly supports, and adds truth and value to this concept.

With that in mind, The Monitoring Association (TMA) has joined with APCO International, the world’s oldest and largest organization of public safety communication professionals, calling on us — security industry professionals — to support a bill. To make an educated decision, we must gain knowledge: 

Name of the bill: 9-1-1 SAVES Act.

Type of bill: bipartisan, bicameral, simple and zero-cost.

What the bill would do: fix the federal classification by appropriately grouping Public Safety Telecommunicators with other “protective” occupations. 

Why this is important: our federal government currently classifies 9-1-1 operator positions as administrative/clerical, in the same group as secretaries, office clerks and taxicab dispatchers. While 9-1-1 operators do sit at desks, working on computers and phones, would you agree or disagree that this is an inaccurate classification and a disservice to the lifesaving work and dedication of these professionals?

TMA’s and APCO’s argument: Public Safety Telecommunicators should be classified as Protective Service Occupations. This includes a broad range of “protective” occupations such as lifeguards, gambling surveillance officers, fish and game wardens, parking enforcement workers, firefighters, playground monitors and more. These organizations believe reclassification is common sense, and about getting Public Safety Telecommunicators the recognition they deserve for the work they do every day to protect and save the lives of the public and first responders. 

Now that you have the knowledge, it’s time to take action. Here are your two choices: 

  1. Do nothing. After all, not taking action is in essence making a decision.
  2. Send a letter. APCO’s website offers a dynamic form where individuals can provide key contact information and the appropriate letter is sent automatically to your U.S. senators and representatives. (I just did. It literally takes less than 1 minute.)