Major Boost in the Fight to Reclassify Public Safety Telecommunicators
Today, U.S. Representative Norma Torres, a former 9-1-1 dispatcher who worked for 17 years for the Los Angeles Police Department, sent a letter telling the federal agency overseeing the reclassification process that “9-1-1 Dispatchers Are More Than Office & Support Staff.” In her letter, Rep. Torres made the case that “public safety telecommunicators are professionals who are critical partners to our first responders.” For example, Rep. Torres stated “As a former dispatcher I know firsthand that on any given day, they may take a call from an individual on the brink of committing suicide or must gather key information if a crime is in progress to be later used in court.”
Congresswoman Torres’ advocacy builds upon an earlier letter sent by the four co-chairs of the bipartisan, bicameral Next Generation 9-1-1 Caucus supporting reclassification. APCO CEO and Executive Director Derek Poarch said, “we very much appreciate the support of Rep. Torres, especially given her background as a former 9-1-1 professional herself. Her advocacy is a major boost to the efforts of APCO members who are fighting to achieve the recognition they deserve for protecting and saving lives every day.” Poarch added, “between the extensive advocacy underway by APCO members and their colleagues, and letters from Congressional leaders like Rep. Torres, and Next Gen 9-1-1 Caucus Co-Chairs Sen. Burr, Rep. Eshoo, Sen. Klobuchar, and Rep. Shimkus, we hope this helps persuade OMB to promptly reclassify public safety telecommunicators into the protective service category.”
Read the full text of Rep. Torres’ letter here.