The workforce of Next Generation 9-1-1 call centers will need to expand existing knowledge, skills, and abilities to include cybersecurity awareness and familiarity with digital, broadband, and IP-based technology. In order to provide students with the enhanced personnel training and skills needed to address modern technology, Montgomery College established the 9-1-1 Dispatch Academy.
The 60-hour academy covers a wide range of topics, including:
- The Basic Emergency Telecommunicator Course and Exam
- Suicide Caller/Intervention Techniques/Stress Management
- Domestic Violence/Excited Delirium
- Customer Service for 911 Professionals/Skills & Abilities Required Active Assailant (Shooter)
This program is in direct response to Montgomery County law enforcement agencies’ need for qualified, job-ready applicants in the 9-1-1 Communications Center.
In its 2018 report, the Commission to Advance Next Generation 9-1-1 Across Maryland strongly advocated for professional-based education curricula that foster 9-1-1 communications careers by encouraging the development of programs at community colleges and high schools.
According to Montgomery College:
In an emergency, the first people to answer a 911 call for help are Emergency Dispatchers. Seconds after receiving an emergency call, these well-trained, highly professional individuals react to send the appropriate type and number of emergency services units in response to calls for assistance. Emergency Dispatchers work in a variety of settings, ranging from police and fire stations to hospitals or centralized communications centers. Communication skills and the ability to work under pressure are important personal qualities for dispatchers.
This first course will enable the student to recognize the need for fire, medical or police responses to 911 calls. The student will learn the role the 911 Telecommunicator plays in applying the principles, practices and standards of care when servicing 911 calls as well as learning the roles and responsibilities of the 911 emergency call taker. Included in this course is preparation for the Basic Emergency Telecommunicator Certification (ETC) and Exam. The exam is taken on the last day of the third week of class.
Earlier this year, the General Assembly passed (and Governor Hogan signed into law) SB 339/ HB 397, Public Safety – 9-1-1 Emergency Telephone System (Carl Henn’s Law), a 2019 MACo Legislative Initiative to update state laws, and the 9-1-1 financing system to provide the flexibility and resources needed for the deployment of a statewide Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG911) system.
Carl Henn’s Law was introduced at the request of the Commission to Advance Next Generation 9-1-1 Across Maryland. The legislation, sponsored by Senator Cheryl Kagan (Commission Chair), Senator Ed Reilly (Commissioner), Delegate Susan Krebs (Commissioner), and Delegate Michael Jackson (Commissioner), includes many of the Commission’s 23 unanimous recommendations.
The Commission will continue its work over the next year in order to address other issues concerning the migration to NG911.