Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Criminal Justice Services
Department of Criminal Justice Services
Rules Relating to Compulsory Minimum Training Standards for Dispatchers [6 VAC 20 ‑ 60]
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2/17/16  3:06 pm
Commenter: Kathy Richardson, Charlottesville-UVA-Albemarle County ECC

Training Standards

First, dispatchers should be recognized as an integral part of public safety and their job title should reflect that. They should be called Public Safety Communications Officers.

Their job has gotten much more complex over the years with the emerging technologies, wireless devices and Next Gen 911. It is vital that emergency communications staff receive essential training hours to meet, maintain and enhance their job skills and reduce liability. The minimum required training for all public saftey communications personnel should be at least 80 hours to start with and additional in-service training should be required every 2 years. (It makes no sense to require police, fire and rescue personnel to meet specific ongoing training requirements but not emergency communications personnel. They are the first link in public safety and how they respond directly impacts the outcome of every call.) We strongly recommend that DCJS implement the APCO minumum training standards for public safety communications officers.

Currently agencies that dispatch for law enforcement are held to a training standard that fire/rescue agencies do not have to meet. It would make sense to have all emergency communications fall under one central agency and meet the same state-wide training requirements and standards. Furthermore, all agencies that dispatch for fire/rescue should be required to certify their staff in emergency medical dispatch.

The Charlottesville-UVA-Albemarle County Emergency Communications Center supports the efforts of the Virginia APCO ProCHRT committee and the recommendations submitted on behalf of Virginia APCO.

CommentID: 49632