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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2/19/16  4:54 pm
Commenter: Tamera Higgins, Chesterfield Emergency Communications

Rules Relating to Compulsory Minimum Training Standards for Dispatchers [6 VAC 20 ? 60]

In reviewing the request for changes to the compulsory minimum training standards requirement for entry level dispatchers, there are several things to consider.  The size and complexity of each agency is specific to their needs, dispatch function and community expectation.  With that consideration, 40 hours of Basic training should just be the doorway and introduction to the career with a mandated follow through on On-The-Job training hours.  To further define the standards and require documented on the job training (aside from the initial and date strategy of the current worksheet) would provide a newly hired dispatcher the guidance needed to handle calls for service from their community.  In reality basic training is just that and needs to be considered as such.  In these classes you will encounter agencies who do not handle all public safety entities so you must craft the basics to suit all students in attendance.  As a training school it is a quick turnaround time; however, our students leave having a better understanding of the call taking, radio dispatch, CISM, HIPAA and liability issues, to name a few, facing dispatchers in today’s environment.  Technology will differ from agency to agency; however, a basic understanding of the progress and use of technology in this profession is key. 

In addition to these considerations, we must recognize the limitations of small and large size entities to provide this amount of training.  Often removing a dispatcher from the operational environment is taxing enough on a department; however, removing them for a two week period or 80 hours further taxes them.  In most cases there is a cost for attendance and the agency providing instruction incurs costs.  When an agency is not an academy setting (example Crater Academy that serves no community PSAP service) will have logistical costs for instructors, meeting space, overtime pay for coverage on the operational floor etc.

On the topic of required re-certification training – I highly encourage the consideration of a mandatory number of training hours per year with specific categories/topics identified by DCJS.  In addition to the required training, there should be a requirement to provide proof of such training being received/attended.  This ensures dispatchers are receiving training that is accepted on a statewide level as opposed to only adapting to their independent environments. 

CommentID: 49643