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]
Previous Comment     Next Comment     Back to List of Comments
2/18/16  1:14 pm
Commenter: Carol Adams, Stafford County Sheriff's Office

Compulsory Minimum Training Standards for Telecommunicators

The responsibilities of the "Telecommunicator", the impact of their job, and the skills necessary to perform the job have long surpassed the curriculum provided through DCJS.  I have outlined below more details to support this statement.

  1. The current training program is outdated and is not solely inclusive of the broad job duties & responsibilities of the Telecommunicator.  Suggestion:  Insure a committee of public safety professionals from around the Commonwealth have significant input into the "requirements" and stress further to members of the Board the importance of training.  I would refer you to the case of Denise Amber Lee, a mother of 2 small boys, who was tragically killed in Florida several years ago - training, coupled with the lack of any re-certification program or on-going training/inservice, played a significant role in the tragedy.
  2. The training program is not consistent across the Commonwealth as each training academy views the curriculum and defines the training individually.  As such, some academies are more comprehensive than others.  Some provide a very comprehensive effort being inclusive of fire and ems responses which is the responsibility of many PSAPs across the Commonwealth.  Suggestion:  Adopt the APCO Minimum Training Standard for Telecommunicators to be the basis for any training program (go to  This standard is updated, at a minimum of every 3 years; as such it remains up-to-date on current events and technologies.  The work is already done, let's just use it.  Have a panel review the standard to insure it meets any curriculum / requirements that are current or will be established by the Commonwealth.  If it does, why re-invent the wheel. 
  3. One of the "guiding principles" defined in Executive Order 17 (2014) paragraph "D" states, Regulations shall be designed to achieve their intended objective in the most efficient, cost effective manner."  Stafford provides a comprehensive training program, certified as meeting the national standard and is inclusive of the Commonwealth's requirements, but we must take staff away from the work environment to attend the regional academy placing a fiscal burden on the locality with overtime compensation and loss of a trained Telecommunicator.  Suggestion:  adopt the national standard for training Telecommunicators & accept the national certification associated with that standard as the agency being in compliance or adopt the national standard and have the local agency show proof to the regional academy, who then reviews the proof, of compliance.  This would retain repsonsibility within the regional academy, but if the locality is training to the national standard which meets and exceeds the Commonwealth's curriculum, then accept that as certifying the Telecommunicator without their physical attendance at a regional academy.  

I could write a book, but I am hoping my point has been made.  Training and on-going training is critical in public safety communications.  It is an ever-changing environment that cannot be taught from a code book or how-to book.  The individual is a skilled public safety professional deserving of training that provides them with the tools and knowledge to perform their job.  We are duplicating efforts and taking away valuable resources from our communications center to send an individual to the academy (they have already spent 6 weeks in an agency academy and have spent more than 800 hours of OJT).  With an environment that is always taxed for personnel resources, this not only lends itself to a fiscal impact, but also greatly impacts the manpower available to do the job.

Your consideration is appreciated.


CommentID: 49637