New Course Trains High School Students to Be 9-1-1 Telecommunicators

Students in Anne Arundel County will participate in the country’s first-ever program aimed at training high schoolers to be 9-1-1 telecommunicators. Glen Burnie High School is set to launch the program next year, which will focus on teaching students how to respond to a person calling 9-1-1 in distress and how to operate the technology in today’s 9-1-1 centers.

According to The Baltimore Sun:

Twenty-two applied to take “Police Communications: Entry Level Call Taker Training,” a yearlong elective class that includes classroom instruction, simulations and visits to the Anne Arundel County Police Department’s 911 dispatch center.

The 15 who are selected will learn computer-aided dispatch software; mapping location skills; and laws, policies and procedures for taking, screening and dispatching calls, according to the course description.

The Anne Arundel County Police Department, who proposed the program, hopes the class will help to fill vacancies at its 9-1-1 call centers, as well as 9-1-1 call centers across the state. High stress, training standards, and long hours have led to a nationwide shortage of 9-1-1 telecommunicators.

Maryland citizens demand and expect 9-1-1 emergency service to be reliable and efficient. Next-generation technology is required to keep up with this increasingly complex public safety function – improving wireless caller location, accommodating incoming text/video, and managing crisis-driven call overflows. Maryland must accelerate its move toward NG911, deliver these essential services equitably across the state, and assure effective coordination with communications providers.

Counties encourage efforts to enhance emergency communications in Maryland. HB 634/SB 285 – Commission to Advance Next Generation 9-1-1 Across Maryland – Establishment, a 2018 MACo Legislative Initiative, urges a statewide effort to guide this critical transition, harnessing public safety industry leadership and expertise to address complex public safety concerns that will help Maryland prepare for the deployment of a statewide Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG911) system that our residents expect and deserve.

Senate Bill 285, sponsored by Senator Cheryl Kagan, passed the Senate unanimously on February 20. Its cross-file, House Bill 634, sponsored by Delegate Michael Jackson, passed the House of Delegates unanimously on March 15. Governor Hogan signed the legislation into law on April 24th.

At this year’s MACo Summer Conference, learn best practices for assessing, planning, and developing maintenance routines to keep Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data NG911 compliant at a session entitled, “Calibrating the Compass: GIS in a Next Gen 9-1-1 World,” on Thursday, August 16, from 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm.

MACo’s 2018 Summer Conference will be held Aug. 15-18 at the Roland Powell Convention Center, in Ocean City, MD.

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference: