April 15, 2021
RE: National Public Safety Telecommunicator Week
Idaho’s 9-1-1 Professionals have been there for us, 24/7, working diligently to send resources to all manner of issues and emergencies. On any given day, 9-1-1 Telecommunicators are called upon to provide emergency medical instructions to save people from choking and heart attacks. They help people on the verge of suicide to get the help they need. They analyze a caller’s tone of voice and background noises to assess clues that are unseen and unspoken. They work with colleagues to coordinate the activities of police, fire, and emergency-medical crews dealing with active shooters, natural disasters, and other deadly hazards. They require highly specialized training and skills, and they perform uniquely stressful and valuable work.
9-1-1 Dispatch Professionals, commonly referred to across the country as Telecommunicators, are subject to highly specialized training, skills, and certifications to be able to do what they do. It’s a profession that cannot be done from home, requires a great deal of mental preparedness, and the ability to process information quickly. Telecommunicators are the first link, and quite possibly the most important link, in the emergency response chain when Idahoan’s are in need.
Locally, our dispatch services (Idaho Falls Public Safety Dispatch – E911) are a collaboration and partnership between Bonneville County and the cities within it’s borders, that dispatch all aspects of public safety. From the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office and the Idaho Falls Police, to Idaho Falls and Swan Valley Fire and Ambulance services, it’s our Telecommunicator Professionals are at the center of getting resources where they need to go. As a population center of Eastern Idaho, our Dispatchers are working hard to serve the community non-stop.
In Idaho, Dispatchers and Telecommunicators are required to attend a Dispatch academy at the Idaho P.O.S.T. Academy because of the highly specialized set of skills this profession demands. In other areas of the country, Dispatchers and Telecommunicators are often classified as Office and Administrative Support type Occupations. Currently, several members of congress are working on the 911 SAVES Act, which would reclassify Public Safety Telecommunicators as a “Protective Service Occupation”. This would align the profession with Law Enforcement, Firefighters, and others whose job it is to protect our communities nationwide.
The Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office is in support of this measure as we recognize the importance and vital role Telecommunicators play in all aspects of Public Safety. In addition, this week being National Public Safety Telecommunicator week, we want to recognize our dedicated Dispatch Professionals that watch over our Deputies, Officers, Firefighters, and area Publics Safety Professionals. We are proud to work alongside each and every one of them to serve Bonneville County and want them to know how much we appreciate what they do.
From all of us at the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office, to our Idaho Falls Public Safety Dispatchers and Telecommunicators everywhere, you have our humble thanks and appreciation.