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IPSA's Public Safety Column

The IPSA's Public Safety Column is an opportunity for our members and corporate sponsors to provide thought leadership, op-ed articles about all topics facing public safety. The articles we publish are not necessarily the views of the IPSA, rather they are opinions shared by each contributor.


  • 16 Jan 2018 3:29 PM | International Public Safety Association (Administrator)

    By the International Public Safety Association

    You may be aware of the National Fire Protection Association's project to create NFPA 3000: Standard for Preparedness and Response to Active Shooter and/or Hostile Events. The proposed NFPA standard is now open for public comment, and the International Public Safety Association and the NFPA is strongly advising you to provide input.  

    Members of the IPSA leadership and Rescue Task Force Committee have been active participants in the NFPA 3000 standard development process. Given the vast amount of knowledge and diverse experience in the IPSA's  membership, we want all of our members to access the NFPA 3000 web portal to provide and input. 

    Your input will help ensure the final version of the NFPA 3000 standard represents the best practices by law enforcement, fire, EMS and telecommunications as published in the IPSA's Rescue Task Force Best Practices Guide.

    There is a limited window of opportunity to provide your input. The deadline is February 23, 2018. Take some time today and provide your input. 

    www.nfpa.org/nfpa3000

  • 16 Jan 2018 12:02 PM | International Public Safety Association (Administrator)

    By Amery Bernhardt, IPSA Member & Sergeant, Westchester County (NY) Department of Public Safety

    The concept of first responders working together and working with community members is gaining momentum in our society. The desire to expand perspectives and response capabilities is quenched by the whole community approach. “A whole community approach attempts to engage the full capacity of the private and nonprofit sectors, including businesses, faith-based and disability organizations, and the general public, in conjunction with the participation of local, tribal, state, territorial and federal governmental partners.” The whole community approach is also one of the underlying concepts of the International Public Safety Association.

    Active shooter/hostile events

    Active shooter/hostile event incidents require a whole community approach to have an effective response and recovery. Unfortunately, several municipalities still face challenges that set them back from achieving a whole community approach. These challenges may appear to be an overwhelming feat. This article provides some recommendations to begin the process based upon experience and recent national guidance.

    According to Gerencser et al.,  the approach can be summarized by the formation of a megacommunity. “A megacommuity is a public sphere in which organizations from three sectors – business, government, and civil society – deliberately join together around compelling issues of mutual importance, following a set of practices and principles that make it easier for them to achieve results without sacrificing their individual goals.”

    Start with schools

    The first challenge that many first responders face is taking that first step. I recommend starting with a school in your jurisdiction. Schools filled with children provide an added incentive to the first responder community. I have observed firsthand the increase in motivation when the task involves saving children. There is an instinctive desire to protect children that can provide inspiration throughout the whole community approach.

    The basic outline I recommend begins with an initiator. Next, progress to a stakeholder analysis. After the key participants have been identified they will need to come together to develop the vision, goals, and objectives. This process will involve potential challenges that can be identified early but must ultimately be overcome. Starting with a school and following this method may provide the needed momentum to inspire multi-discipline integration.

    Identifying a leader, initiator

    In order to ignite this type of megacommunity, Gerencser et al., identified that there needs to be a catalyst that provides visible leadership during the early phases. Two of the most important traits of the initiator are being passionate and steadfast. This person needs to take the lead on beginning the process and working through the different phases of the endeavor. Consistency is critical to keeping the momentum moving forward. This is not an exhaustive list, but the initiator can be a member of the local police department, fire department, medical services agency, 911 telecommunicator or the emergency manager.

    School pilot program

    The first step the initiator should take is to invite the key players to the table. Gerencser et al., recommends that a thorough stakeholder analysis be completed to identify the members needed in this megacommunity. To simplify the process, I recommend starting with a school within the jurisdiction. This may help to provide a pilot program that can be emulated throughout the community as the concept gains widespread buy-in and adoption.

    Progress at this stage can be used as momentum to continue the collaboration effort throughout other areas of the municipality. This group would include representation from the school district, the school building, the community and each discipline of the first responder community. For example, the group may consist of a law enforcement officer, firefighter, EMT, 911 telecommunicator, parent, superintendent and a principal.

    Creating a vision statement

    During the initial meeting, the key stakeholders identified must develop a vision statement for the megacommunity. Kim & Mauborgne  identified that engaging the stakeholders in this way will help to bring commitment, cooperation and trust. Gerencser et al., provides guidance to develop a statement that is clear and envelopes all the vital interests and values inherent in facing this challenge.

    For illustrative purposes, here is an example of a vision statement.

    “To develop our municipality into a resilient community that is adequately prepared to successfully respond to threats of active deadly behavior within our schools. This response will be realized through a comprehensive program that will engage the whole community approach in preparing and responding to such attacks.”

    Only after the group has successfully identified their mission can they truly make headway on collaboration.

    Setting goals and objectives

    The development of goals will flow from the vision statement. Gerencser et al., found that when organizations establish goals and milestones, it is a strong sign that they have a clear understanding of the community’s expectations.

    Here is an example of one potential goal based upon the previously formed vision statement. “Train the school faculty to successfully respond to violence within the school.”

    Given that objectives are the steps taken to reach a goal, each objective must be S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound). An example might be, “conduct active shooter response training with all members of the faculty of the high school within one year.” The development of the goals and objectives will require active participation and follow-up to sustain the efforts and complete the mission.

    Prepare for challenges

    The activity of collaborating is filled with potential challenges that must be overcome. Some of these may include cultural differences, lack of quality relationships, inadequate communication and understanding, lack of participation or commitment and disagreements. There may be a major challenge of getting true participation and commitment from the stakeholders.

    One of the best ways to move people toward a common goal is to focus on why you are doing what you are doing. According to Simon Sinek “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it, and what you do serves as the tangible proof of why you do it.” 

    The key is to tap into what inspires people to act. For example, the goal is to save the children in the school. All the decisions of the group should serve this purpose. Often, challenges are closely related to each other and their solutions are intertwined. If the group maintains focus on why they are doing what they are doing, they will be more driven to work through each of the challenges.

    For example, cultural differences between schools and first responders, and between fire and law enforcement services will need to be overcome through a consorted effort in understanding. The more the group works to understand each other, the more likely they are to build relationships. These relationships will help them prevail over communication barriers which in turn helps them better understand cultural differences. This becomes an endless cycle that builds collaborative strength throughout the sequence.

    There are bound to be disagreements. Throughout the process of creating a megacommunity, there will be opposing points of view; however, differing opinions are a necessary part of the process. The danger lies when one person or a single perspective drives the outcomes.

    It is important to understand the importance of conflict and understand an important point made by Lencioni that relationships need conflict to grow. A win/win environment will need to help shape the relationship. Stephen Covey provides this insight when he wrote, “It’s not your way or my way; it’s a better way, a higher way.” This can pull people away from the view that their engagement is one of a competition and place them into a realm of collaboration to produce something better. A realm where forward-thinking really does prevail. It is not my idea wins and yours loses, it involves progressive ideas that help everyone to win. 

    The challenge of beginning a multi-discipline approach to active shooter and hostile event response will appear daunting. But, regardless of appearances, this is a task that must be embraced by the first responder community. A true whole community approach can be realized by someone refusing to give up and courageously taking the role of the initiator. This individual can lead a stakeholder analysis and progress through the development of the vision, goals, and objectives of the newly formed megacommunity. 

    Focusing on the why and anticipating the challenges that will arise will prove to be invaluable. Start with a school and tap into the incalculable drive that seems to flow from first responders when they are rescuing children.


    About the author

    Amery Bernhardt, M.A. Homeland Security, is a Sergeant with the Westchester County Department of Public Safety in New York. He has 17 years law enforcement experience and is certified as an instructor for law enforcement and civilian active shooter response through the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training program. He has conducted training and numerous exercises with schools and first responder agencies throughout Westchester County. 


  • 13 Jan 2018 8:19 AM | International Public Safety Association (Administrator)

    By Shirl Tyner, Lexipol is an Official IPSA Corporate Supporter

    Some people think about it from time to time. Some people dream about it. Some people can’t even imagine it. Some people already did it. What, you ask? Retirement. Are you ready?

    After a career in public safety, you probably have an idea of the legacy you’ve built and the effect your departure will have on the agency. But have you thought about the impact leaving will have on you? Public safety agencies prepare for retirements though succession plans, but most agencies do a very poor job preparing the actual retirees, which is an is an issue because retirement is not easy.
    Dying for the job

    One theory is that public safety retirement is not easy because working in public safety itself is not easy. We lack good statistics about suicide among public safety personnel, but what we do know is alarming.

    Law enforcement officers and firefighters rank sixth on the Center for Disease Control’s list of occupations by suicide. One study showed firefighters are three times more likely to die from suicide than a line-of-duty death, and the number of firefighters lost to suicide has increased each year for the last five years. The Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance has documented 175 firefighter retiree suicides—36 of whom took their lives in the first week of retirement.

    It’s even worse for law enforcement. The occupational fatality rate of law enforcement officers is three to five times greater than the national average. As John Violanti documented in his 2014 book, Dying for the Job, male officers commit suicide at a rate 8.3 times greater than those who are murdered on the job, 3.1 times greater than those killed in work accidents, and 4 times greater than firefighters.

    Contributing factors to suicide by public safety employees include:

    • Shift work and sleep disorders. In addition to increasing your risk of arteriosclerosis, hypertension and cardiac problems, shift work has a recognized impact on psychological health. Officers working non-day shifts are 14 times more likely to sleep less than 6 hours per day and a 40-year-old study of suicide links shift work with suicidal ideation.
    • Alcohol abuse. Although studies vary, some have shown as many as 25 percent of law enforcement officers in the United States abuse alcohol. Firefighters binge drink twice as often as the general population.
    • PTSD and emotional trauma. Often, alcohol abuse among public safety personnel is an attempt to escape the emotional suffering of the job. None of us is immune to the stress caused by a career’s worth of emergency calls. For some, that stress becomes debilitating.    

    These contributing factors don’t disappear with retirement. In fact, they may get worse. In a way, retiring from public safety is much like a grieving process. We have made differences in people’s lives and when we retire it’s easy to lose that sense of purpose and believe our lives no longer have the same value. We feel like something has been taken from us and we lose our identity.

    Note: Among all these statistics about firefighters and law enforcement officers, what is missing? If you said civilian employees, volunteers, support staff, EMTs, nurses, etc., you’re right! The number of people affected goes way up when you include—as we should—all members of public safety.

    The next big change

    When we think about retirement, we think about the things we look forward to doing—travel, reading, sports, time with friends, church, volunteering and maybe even a part-time job. These are all wonderful ideas, but for public safety employees, retirement can be extremely difficult. Many public safety employees cannot even picture themselves outside the job. This isn’t what we do but who we are.

    So when you retire, what will you miss? For starters, the people. This is a family, your family, one you’ve never been without and never want to be without. You’ll miss your partners, those you have worked beside and counted on, vented to, protected and leaned on, the ones who always had your back. There’s also the activity—the sights, smells, touches and tastes. Let’s not forget that adrenaline rush, hearing the dispatcher over the radio and the rush of getting to the call. And being part of something so great, something you never imagined being without.

    Retirement is the next great adventure after all this. But it’s a mistake to look at your life and see a clear dividing line between your life in public safety and your life after public safety. In fact, retirement is another in a series of changes you’ve been experiencing your entire life.

    Believe it or not, you have changed during your career. And I’m not just talking about your physique! You have changed physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. Maybe you’ve put on a few pounds. Have you grown more sluggish or more alert over the years? Has your faith become deeper and more personal, or has it waned? How do you deal with emotional turmoil now compared to 20 or 30 years ago?

    Remember when you promoted? You probably asked your friends and family to not ever let you forget where you came from. You wanted to promote and be the best supervisor you could be, but you never wanted to be “one of them.” Now is a good time to remind yourself of that.

    When you look at retirement as another in a series of changes, it’s possible to be as excited about retiring as you were about entering public safety when you were younger. Knowing that you have changed, believe that you can and will change again—mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. You are no longer part of your job even though the job is a huge part of who you have become. And that is not necessarily a bad thing.

    Preparing yourself

    Retirement requires preparation. The more you plan, the smoother this transition will go. Here are just a few considerations:

    • Think about how you’ll spend your free time. Maybe it’s a second career, additional education or time with the grandkids. When you retire, you no longer answer to the clock or the phone. You have more free time than ever before. You have more time for that “honey do” list, and more time to spend with family and friends. And while free time is nice, it can also be terrifying to face an endless series of days with nothing you have to do.
    • Discuss your schedule change with your family. Sure, they have always wished you didn’t work at night or on the holidays and they want you home more often. But when you retire you must fit into their schedules. Their schedules didn’t change, yours did. Do you fit or are you interfering
    • Prepare for a change in income. Even with a pension, retirement requires a clear-eyed look at your finances. You may need to see a financial counselor and develop a budget that accounts for expenses such as travel and healthcare.
    • Expect a hard hit. If you’re lucky, you won’t experience an emotional toll, but it’s best to be prepared for the loss of friends, loneliness, the feeling you’ve been forgotten and the concern that you didn’t leave the legacy you strived for. Exercise self-care and seek help if you see warning signs, such as emotional detachment, depression, spending too much alone time, abusing alcohol or drugs, or trying to stay involved in the job when you no longer have a place there.

    Make sure you are ready to retire and don’t give in to outside influences. Go when you know the time is right for you! Don’t make a rushed, emotional decision. You’ve always controlled your career, now you must control your retirement—and your preparation for it.

    Make it count

    It is easy to forget how much we love being needed until we no longer are. Watching the lights and hearing the sirens go somewhere without you is a bittersweet experience. Curiosity about the call, memories of past calls, and the desire to help all flood in.

    Now, those of you who can’t wait to retire and don’t have to worry about any of this, I say hallelujah and lucky you! For the rest of us, attitude is everything. It is the key to understanding you are not who you were, that you earned this retirement and that you deserve to enjoy it. So, make it count! You love what you do or you would not be doing it. You were born with a servant’s heart. How can you put that to work in your retirement? After all, it’s retirement, not death!

    As Charles Swindoll said, life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we react to it. We may not be able to stop retirement from coming, but we can choose how we react to it.

    So here’s to a happy, healthy retirement—and on to the greatest adventure of all!

    About the Author

    Shirl Tyner is a Management Services Representative for Lexipol and has 25 years of law enforcement experience as a civilian (non-sworn) employee, serving with the Oceanside (CA) Police Department and the Tustin (CA) Police Department. Her tenure included positions as front desk officer, field officer, report writer, field evidence technician, crime scene investigator and fraud investigator. In many of these areas she held supervisory positions, and she served as a field training officer for 20 years. Shirl has experience as a Trauma Intervention Volunteer and has been heavily involved in peer support, with a special focus on PTSD. A graduate of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Deputy Leadership Institute, she has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Graduate Certificate in Forensics and Crime Scene Investigations and is currently working on a master’s degree in Forensic Science. Shirl teaches Criminal Justice and Forensic courses at both the high school and college levels. 

    Lexipol provides essential policies and training that support operations in law enforcement agencies, fire departments and corrections facilities. Contact us today to find out more.

  • 11 Jan 2018 11:16 AM | International Public Safety Association (Administrator)

    By Gregory L. Walterhouse, Bowling Green State University

    The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reports that in 2011 the Commission received 11,364 sexual harassment complaints down from a high of 15,889 in 1997. However, the recent proliferation of sexual harassment claims surfacing in the entertainment industry, media and Congress on the heels of the numerous claims of sexual harassment against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein is suggestive that many instances of sexual harassment are still not being reported and there is still work to be done.

    Considering these statistics and allegations, do public safety agencies have their houses in order with regards to sexual harassment?  A quick internet search indicates they do not. There is no benefit to singling out and identifying individual agencies in this article, but an internet search revealed many articles detailing claims of sexual harassment against police, fire and EMS agencies in the U.S., U.K. and Canada. This suggests that it may be timely for agencies to review their sexual harassment policies and procedures.

    Defining sexual harassment

    The EEOC defines sexual harassment as “unlawful harassment of a person (an applicant or employee) because of that person’s sex.” “Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.”

    Two types of sexual harassment have been identified.

    1. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits quid pro quo harassment. Quid pro quo sexual harassment is based on a sexual favor in return for an economic or tangible condition of employment.  In other words, the harassment affects a term, condition or privilege of employment.
    2. And, in Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson the Supreme Court held that a “hostile work environment” is a form of sexual harassment actionable under Title VII. The Court also held that for sexual harassment to be actionable it must be sufficiently severe or pervasive “to alter the conditions of employment and create an abusive working environment.”

    According to the EEOC, although the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision such as the victim being disciplined, transferred, demoted or terminated.

    Hostile work environment claims may be accompanied by claims of constructive discharge. Constructive discharge occurs when the employee’s working conditions are so intolerable that he/she feels compelled to resign. If the claim of constructive discharge is proven as a result of a hostile work environment, then the claim also becomes one of quid pro quo harassment.

    Harasser’s may be a supervisor, co-worker or someone who is not an employee of the agency, for example a contractor or visitor. The charging party and harasser may be of the same or different gender. In Oncale v Sundowner Offshore Services the Supreme Court held that same-sex sexual harassment is actionable under Title VII. The Supreme Court in Faragher v. City of Boca Raton also held that employers are generally vicariously liable for the actionable harassment caused by supervisors

    Affirmative defense

    An affirmative defense is an assertion of facts and arguments that if true serve to defeat a plaintiff’s claim even if the facts in the complaint are true. Employers may have an affirmative defense against sexual harassment claims if they have taken reasonable steps to prevent and correct sexual harassment in the workplace. However, no affirmative defense is available when a supervisor’s harassment results in a tangible adverse employment action such as discharge (including constructive discharge), demotion, or undesirable work assignment.

    The Court’s holding in Faragher provides guidance on establishing an affirmative defense.

    First, there must be an established written policy with a strong statement prohibiting sexual harassment.

    Second, the policy must provide a multiple avenue complaint procedure. There must be a provision in the complaint procedure that by-passes the immediate supervisor and the chain-of-command when necessary. The best approach is a provision for complaints to be made directly to the human resources department.

    Third, the policy must be disseminated among all supervisors and employees. Simply disseminating the policy however is not sufficient. Periodic training on the policy needs to be conducted for all employees with preferably more advanced training provided to supervisors.

    Fourth, complaints must be promptly and thoroughly investigated, and every attempt must be made to maintain as much confidentiality as possible under the given circumstances.

    Fifth, the victim must be made whole with regard to any lost benefits or opportunities and prevent the conduct from recurring.  

    Finally, appropriate disciplinary action ranging from reprimand to termination must be administered against offenders. As with all discipline, the corrective action must reflect the severity of the conduct.

    Once an employer has taken reasonable care to prevent and promptly correct sexual harassing behavior, the Court has held in Burlington Industries, Inc. v. Ellerth that an employer may raise an affirmative defense where a victim unreasonably fails to take advantage of preventative and corrective opportunities. However, absent a complaint, if an employer knows or should have known that either quid pro quo or hostile work environment harassment is occurring, it is incumbent upon the employer to immediately correct the behavior.

    General policy guidelines

    A policy must clearly and explicitly state that sexual harassment is strictly prohibited.

    The policy must also make clear that there will be no retaliation against those who report harassment. It is important to note that any employee may report harassment not only those who are alleged victims. As stated previously there must be multiple avenues of reporting complaints. The policy must encourage an open culture where employees feel comfortable in approaching supervisors or human resources to report when such conduct is occurring in the workplace. The policy must be posted and distributed to all employees. Finally training on the policy should be conducted at least annually.

    A hostile work environment is created by severe and persuasive conduct. While an isolated or single incident generally does not create a hostile work environment, it could if the single incident is unusually severe. What rises to the level of severe and persuasive is viewed by the courts from the objective standpoint of the “reasonable person.”

    Employers should use the same approach in evaluating whether an incident is isolated or repetitive constituting severe and persuasive conduct.  Employers must also understand it is not the intent of the conduct but how it was received. The guidance for this is whether the conduct is “unwelcome”.

    Participation by the charging party can substantially complicate claims of sexual harassment.

    Participation may range from participating in off-color jokes, using sexual terms in conversation or voluntary participation in sexual activity. Due to space limitations this cannot be discussed in-depth here, but employers should consider fraternization polices or use fraternization contracts for intimate employee relationships that my later turn bad and result in claims of sexual harassment.

    Finally, employers must refrain from retaliating against charging parties, victims or witnesses. Neither the EEOC nor the courts look favorably upon claims of retaliation, and if proven awards against employers can be substantial. 

    About the Author

    Greg Walterhouse is a full-time faculty member in the Fire Administration and Master of Public Administration programs at Bowling Green State University. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Management from Oakland University, a Master’s degree in Legal Studies from the University of Illinois and a Master’s degree in Management from Central Michigan University. Before joining BGSU he had over 35 years of experience in fire/rescue and emergency management with 18 years in upper management, including Manager of Emergency Services and Chief of the Rochester Hills (MI) Fire Department and Chief of the Mt. Pleasant (MI) Fire Department. He may be contacted at waltegl@bgsu.edu.


  • 28 Dec 2017 9:57 AM | International Public Safety Association (Administrator)

    By Group Mobile, an Official IPSA Supporter

    Time is one of the most valuable assets for first responders. Reaching critical situations quickly, having access to the right information in crucial moments, and the ability to communicate real-time, accurate data all impact first response teams' capacities for making pivotal decisions when it matters most. Well-informed decisions, even when made in a split second, bolster the safety of victims, civilians, and personnel.

    In-vehicle connectivity enables educated, on-the-spot decisions and improved response efforts by providing first responders the resources to move as quickly as possible. Leveraging reliable hardware and software, like mobile gateway routers and rugged computers, is key.

    Rugged mobile technology explained

    Rugged mobile technology encompasses a variety of hardware and software including, but not limited to, smartphones, tablets, laptops, gateways, scanners, printers, and more. Designed to 1) provide seamless connectivity and 2) withstand harsh environments, rugged tech is the go-to for a variety of industries. First responders, especially, reap benefits when utilizing rugged mobile tech, because it allows them to further improve upon what they already do best: tactfully respond to critical situations.

    Rugged mobile technology's improves response time

    • Ensures Seamless Connectivity - Mobile gateway and routers enable seamless in-vehicle connectivity, meaning response teams can gain access to and share important information as it's happening. This allows response teams to quickly understand exactly when and where they're needed.
    • Immediate Reporting and Alerting - Well-placed sensors send alerts to dispatchers and nearby response teams without the officer in action having to provide a play by play. If an officer is pursuing a fleeing suspect, for instance, nearby personnel will be alerted that he or she might need back up. Such alerts make it possible for nearby responders to support each other before even verbalizing it.
    • Helps Responders Work On The Go - Rugged mobile computers, like the F110 and V110 from Getac, allow first responders to capture images and videos on the go, run mission-critical applications, and take the tablet where they need it when they need it most. These computers are built to work regardless of the responder’s situation, rather than holding the officer back.
    • Less Time Needed to Repair Broken or Failing Tech - Rugged designs lend themselves well to bumpy car rides, extreme temperatures, and any other potentially hazardous environments first response teams might, and will likely, encounter. Reliability means response teams won't constantly have to carve out time to attend to repairs or malfunctions.
    • GPS Provides Quickest Routes - Most rugged mobile technology includes, or can include, Integrated GPS receivers to ensure response teams are provided with the quickest routes possible.

    Rugged gateways create emergency vehicle mobile hotspots

    Dramatically increased download links and seamless communication provide first responders with mission-critical data as they're responding to a situation. Fast access to real-time data, like federal criminal records and important incident location data, improves a response team’s ability to make the best decision based on the information available.

    Briefly mentioned above, in-vehicle rugged gateways provide consolidated connectivity with dispatchers, IT teams, and other first responders. Most consumer routers use a 3G network, which causes delays and other time-consuming issues with in-vehicle applications, which first responders rely on to receive and communicate important information in real time. Rugged gateways, however, utilize secure and reliable networks to increase productivity and, ultimately, improve response time.

    About the Author

    Group Mobile works closely with Sierra Wireless and Getac to offer the world a comprehensive offering of hardware, software and services for connected devices and machine-to-machine communications. Together, Group Mobile and Sierra Wireless provide innovative, reliable and high performing solutions. Group Mobile’s team of industry experts can assist you in selecting, designing and implementing a multi-network environment for mission-critical fleets, as well as request a free personalized quote. Group Mobile is an official IPSA Supporter.

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  • 04 Dec 2017 12:14 PM | International Public Safety Association (Administrator)

    Sgt (Ret) Charles Kean MA, EMT-P, IPSA TEMS & RTF Committee Member

    In 2016, a cooperative training program was developed and introduced in Springfield, Illinois with the goal of providing basic life-saving skills and equipment to officers. This program was established because SPD officers received little, if any, medical training after they left the academy. While the initial concept was limited to the Springfield Police Department, it has since flourished far beyond that one agency.

    SPD’s Emergency Response Team is essentially the same as other agencies’ SWAT teams. The ERT includes an active TEMS program, and as a sworn officer and paramedic, I was the TEMS leader and trainer. I was supplemented with eight emergency medical responders, who were also sworn officers. In addition, four emergency medicine physicians participated in training and supported SPD’s ERT.

    Many officers on the ERT have a military background and several are combat veterans. A lot of officers were comfortable equipping themselves with tourniquets and other first aid equipment. However, there was no consistency in what they were acquiring, supply-wise, or the training they were getting.

    In early 2016, I was introduced to Kari Jerge, MD (also a member of the IPSA’s TEMS Committee). Dr. Jerge was brought in as the Trauma Medical Director for HSHS St. John’s Hospital. She brought a wealth of trauma care knowledge including holding certification as a Tactical Combat Casualty Care instructor. I was fortunate to work with Dr. Jerge to design a comprehensive program using TCCC principles coupled with established law enforcement methods.

    Training, costs, time and buy-in

    Establishing the training program took nearly a year. In that time, every aspect of the training was analyzed. What became clear almost immediately was that this could not be a program built exclusively by the medical providers. As a police officer and paramedic, I could provide information related to what police are looking at and what EMS or medical personnel would see.

    Financial considerations must be weighed. There are costs for instructors and equipment. Law enforcement, much like other public safety entities, is in a constant tug-of-war in the fiscal arena.

    Another challenge we faced was time. SPD runs an in-house, in-service training program with five sessions annually. During that 40 hours per year, the Training Coordinator must squeeze in three shooting course and training required by the Illinois Training and Standards Board.

    The third hurdle, and the most troublesome, was officer buy-in. Having been an officer for over 20 years and involved in department training for more than 10 years, I was aware that police officers are wary when ‘outsiders’ come into their training domain. Convincing officers that the program was paramount to their training, was challenging, on-going and necessary for it to be successful.

    Tourniquets, wound packing and lifts/carries

    To stay in line with recognized and proven training, SPD modified the training presented in the TCCC All Combatants (TCCC-AC) course. Acknowledging the many tenets in TCCC do not translate directly into civilian law enforcement and EMS care protocols, the decision was made to focus on the greatest pay-off for line officers. The training focused on the use of hemostatic agents, tourniquets and lifts/carries.

    While recognizing the importance of bleeding control and the relative ease in training these skills, we needed something to drive the lessons home for the officers and the command staff. What evolved was a two-prong training approach.

    The first portion of the training laid the groundwork for why they should care, both at the user level and why commanders and chiefs should care from a liability mitigation standpoint. The second part of the training was getting the students to apply the skills in practice.

    Tourniquet use was demonstrated by the instructors applying the tourniquet to themselves and using a Doppler to demonstrate the occlusion of the distal arterial blood flow. Students were then evaluated on putting the tourniquet on themselves and then a putting a tourniquet on a partner with the instructors evaluating each application.

    Wound packing was demonstrated using as near a live tissue model as possible. Bone-in pork shoulders were obtained and then were shot with duty ammunition of both the department issued Glock 17 9mm pistol and M-4 rifle. Students were use training Combat Gauze© to pack the wounds in the pork shoulder.

    Lifts/carries were demonstrated and applied by the officers in the training. An important aspect to this is to make sure the officers are in body armor and duty belts to replicate the difficulties and issues that may be encountered by officers in the field.

    Overcoming programmatic challenges

    Costs were the first issue we addressed. HSHS Trauma Service approached the HSHS St. John’s Hospital Foundation and secured a grant to purchase equipment for SPD officers. The hospital further supports the program by resupplying officers when they used their equipment.

    In addition, all the instructors involved in the initial training declined payment. This was a labor of love and collectively the instructors felt it was more important to get the information to responders than to be paid.

    When I approached the Training Coordinator, I believed that I would be asking for time the upcoming year. As it were, there was a four-hour block of uncommitted time during the October 2016 in-service session. That provided the team with a target window for structuring the training for the officers. Since that initial training each successive group of new officers joining the SPD attend the 4-hour training and are then equipped.

    Officer buy-in was initially my greatest concern. That turned out to be the least problematic issue. At the time of the training, SPD had approximately 240 officers from Chief to rookie patrol officers. As of today, 230 officers received the training. Usually the Criminal Investigations Division conducts a separate training program separate from patrol. In this instance, CID wanted to be involved in this training. In my mind that is a testament to the officers understanding the importance of the training.

    The program’s future

    Since SPD completed the training, the program has taken on a life of its own. Through the work of HSHS Trauma Service, the program has expanded beyond the officers of the SPD. Through the outreach of the HSHS Trauma Service combined with those who have attended the training, the program has grown much faster than anticipated.

    A significant step forward was made when the team was invited in February 2017 to present the training to the Lincoln Land Chapter of the FBI National Academy Alumni Association. This organization is made up of command staff personnel of state, county, local and tribal law enforcement agencies. By presenting to the FBINAA, we gained another level of respectability. We have achieved that rare accolade of acceptance by line-level and command-level personnel.

    As of October 2017, the team has trained 700+ responders. Agencies include the Sangamon County Sheriff’s Department, the Illinois Department of Conservation Police and numerous smaller agencies. The program was accepted by the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board as a certified course for Illinois law enforcement officers.

    To date officers and deputies trained and equipped through this program have been credited with saving at least three lives with tourniquet applications.

    This training has progressed into the greater responder community. Numerous fire departments and EMS agencies, both paid and volunteer, have been trained. This was a welcome, yet unintended benefit, of the program. Since the skill sets translate across public safety disciplines and they often work together, it is intuitive to provide the training to them.

    It’s important, regardless of the discipline we come from, that we do what is necessary to bridge those gaps and collaborate on solutions to common problems and situations. This program is a testament to cross-disciplinary training. It’s a program that started with a law enforcement agency collaborating with a healthcare provider to benefit both disciplines and, ultimately, those in need of emergent care in an unstable environment.

    About the Author

    Charles Kean is a member of the ISPA TEMS and RTF Committees and retired from the Springfield (IL) Police Department after 21 ½ years of service. He has been involved in EMS since 1984 getting his start in the US Army as a Medical Specialist. He established the SPD Emergency Response Team (ERT) TEMS program in 2005 and served as the leader and educator. He continues to serve the TEMS element with training and support. He is an instructor in the EMS Program at Lincoln Land Community College as well as a TCCC/TECC instructor. He holds a Master’s Degree in Crisis Management and Emergency Response.


  • 04 Dec 2017 11:08 AM | International Public Safety Association (Administrator)

    By Joseph “Paul” Manley, Lieutenant, Nahant Police Department

    Certain words or phrases can be verbal indicators of deception. The presence of one or two of these indicators is not necessarily a sign of deception, but a good interviewer should treat them as cues to probe further. Investigators must always look for clusters of verbal indicators and treat them as markers for where to insert more probing questions.

    Stalling

    Stalling tactics, such as asking the investigator to repeat the question, provides additional time for deceivers to think of an appropriate answer. Some stalling phrases include:

    1. “It depends on what you mean by that.”
    2. “Where did you hear that?”
    3. “Where’s this information coming from?”
    4. “Could you be more specific?”
    5. “How dare you ask me something like that?”
    6. “Well, it’s not as simple as yes or no.”
    7. “That’s an excellent question.”

    Deceivers typically ask investigators to repeat questions without realizing that honest conversations do not require the restatement of questions.

    Distractions

    Distraction techniques can be easy to spot and are crucial to note. These can take place in a variety of forms. For example, asking for directions in the middle of questioning, asking for advice on places to stay in the area, showing great interest in your work as well as complimenting you on your uniform and profession. It’s important to be aware of distraction techniques that can divert your attention from your original purpose.

    Trust anchors

    Trust anchors are statements or expressions offered by the potential deceiver to try to convince you that they are worthy of trust. They may even seem out of place or offered for no reason. It is typically because they don’t believe they have convinced you yet. Below are some commonly used statements:

    1. “I swear.”
    2. “Believe me when I tell you.”
    3. “To tell you the truth.”
    4. “To the best of my knowledge.”

    These types of statements are often used as part of an effort to deceive.

    Pitch changes or mumbling

    Pay close attention to the rise and fall in pitch or tone of someone’s voice if you suspect they are telling you a lie. It is common for a liar’s voice pitch to change when they are speaking something deceitful. There are a few reasons for this change in pitch. For example, anxiety and nervousness cause a change in voice pitch. A change in voice pitch may be used to add emphasis on certain words to make it sound more believable. Voice pitch changes can be used as a distracting method.

    Discrepancies

    One of the best ways to detect untruthfulness is to discover when what someone is saying and doing doesn’t match up. For example, a person may state, “Yes, everything is fine,” but they are shaking their head no. It is normal to forget or morph certain aspects of a story when it is retold, but obvious consistent changes are a red flag that the story may be fabricated.

    Just having read this article, your behavioral awareness has increased. This means that your chances of spotting these warning signs have improved. Use this information wisely and be vigilant for those who may seek to manipulate you or do you harm.  

    About the Author

    Lt. Manley is a 30+ year law enforcement professional and adjunct faculty member at North Shore Community College in Danvers, MA. Paul is the Founder of Risk Mitigation Technologies, LLC and currently serves as the Executive Officer for the Nahant Massachusetts Police Department. Paul has a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice Administration from Anna Maria College, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from American International College. Paul is proud and honored to serve on the IPSA Memorial Committee. 


  • 04 Dec 2017 10:34 AM | International Public Safety Association (Administrator)

    By Rick Bates, retired police lieutenant and Professional Services Representative with Lexipol, an Official IPSA Corporate Supporter

    “Congress shall make no law … abridging freedom of speech.”

    This quotation is from the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights. And while it seems straightforward, consider the words of Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, thought by many to be one of the finest jurists of all time. In the 1892 case of McAuliffe v. City of New Bedford, Holmes wrote that with regard to a police officer’s First Amendment rights, he “may have a constitutional right to talk politics, but he has no constitutional right to be a policeman.”

    How do we reconcile these two statements? The answer lies in the dichotomy of the government as a sovereign versus the government as an employer. The sovereign’s ability to regulate content is subject to the highest level of judicial scrutiny, requiring a compelling government interest to regulate the speech (which is rarely found). The government as employer, however, may regulate the time, place and manner of speech, and thus be subject to a lower level of judicial scrutiny. In such cases, the forum is a factor. As you will see, the judicial pendulum has swung back and forth based upon our social norms at the time.

    You might be asking yourself, how does the “speech” of a public-sector employee become an issue that winds its way all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court? The quotations are added because speech can take on many forms, from oral assertions to written words to political and other associations, all as ferreted out by voluminous case law.

    The answer to how speech makes its way to the Supreme Court starts when a public-sector employee—a police officer, firefighter, corrections officer or a teacher, for example—speaks in a manner that offends his/her employer. As a result, the employer takes an adverse employment decision, usually some form of discipline (a suspension, termination, demotion or lack of promotion). And the employee sues, averring that the employer abridged his/her constitutional right to free speech.

    For over a half-century, Justice Holmes’ assertion that public-sector employees had no First Amendment rights was classic authority in the United States. This analysis lent itself to the master/servant relationship that prevailed at the time: Public employment was a privilege bestowed by the sovereign, and therefore not a right protected by the Bill of Rights.

    The U.S. Supreme Court followed Justice Holmes’ lead in 1947 in United Public Workers of America v. Mitchell, upholding the terminating of a federal employee for violation of the Hatch Act, which regulated political activity by federal employees. The pendulum then, starts at the right.

    Due process and the Pickering Test

    Things began to change with the emergence of the Due Process Era of the 1960s. Courts began to see the First Amendment as affording limited constitutional protection to certain speech by public-sector employees. In Pickering v. Board of Education (1968), the U.S. Supreme Court decided that public-sector employees did not totally relinquish their First Amendment rights at the door. The pendulum swung to the left.

    However, while Pickering recognized that public-sector employees had First Amendment rights, it did not rule that such rights were absolute. Rather, it adopted the rather nebulous “Pickering Test.” The test has two parts:

    1. When a speech case makes its way into a court of the law, the first question to be asked is, “Is the speech on a matter of public concern?” However, the court failed to accurately define what was in fact a matter of public concern, and several Supreme Court rulings that followed struggled to clarify. Initially, public concern was defined as “any matter of political, social or other concern to the community.” Eventually, the definition narrowed to focus on the question, is the speech a “subject of general interest and of value and concern to the public at the time of the publication?” As you can see, this definition is quite broad, and therefore, not a difficult test to hurdle.

    2. The second prong of the Pickering test requires the court to balance the interests of the employee in commenting on matters of public interest versus the government employer in regulating the speech. Remember the dichotomy here, as we are talking about the government as an employer, not as the sovereign. As such, this becomes a forum analysis, and not just a content analysis. Context is key.

    The government interests often espoused in these cases fall into two broad categories:

    • Internal interests, such as detrimental impact on working relationships, impediment to the employee’s ability to perform his/her job, impairment of discipline by supervisors, impairment of harmony among co-workers and interference with the regular operation of the enterprise
    • External interests, such as the disruptive consequences on police activities, intense media coverage and the impact on recruitment effects

    The pendulum swings again: Garcetti v. Ceballos

    After this paradigm had been established for public employee speech, the pendulum swung back again in the 2006 seminal case of Garcetti v. Ceballos. A supervising District Attorney had drafted an internal memorandum questioning the veracity of an affidavit in support of a search warrant. When his concerns were not taken seriously, he testified for the defense. And when he was subsequently transferred and passed up for promotion, the DA sued, avowing his First Amendment rights had been violated.

    The court decided the Pickering test was inapplicable to “on-duty” speech and ruled, “When public employees make statements pursuant to their official duties, they are not speaking as citizens for First Amendment purposes, and the Constitution does not insulate their communications from employer discipline.” The Court stated that the public employees’ rights can be adequately protected by whistleblower statutes. However, those statutes vary widely across the country and can be limited in their protection.

    Courts have since struggled with this onerous decision and a few cases have begun to whittle away at the black-letter ruling espoused in Garcetti, but it is still the law today.

    On or off-duty

    The result of Garcetti is that the public employment free speech analysis must be bifurcated: Was the speech on-duty or off-duty? If the speech owes its existence to the public employee’s employment, then Garcetti controls and the employee is afforded no constitutional protection (aside from the limited protections afforded in any applicable whistleblower statutes). If the speech is off-duty, and not made pursuant to the employee’s official duties, then the two-pronged Pickering Test applies. In such cases, the ruling normally balances the employee’s interest in public speech versus the government employer’s interest in regulating that speech.

    It is in this off-duty arena where litigation often arises. We’ve already established that public-sector employees are afforded limited constitutional protection if they’re speaking on a matter of public concern. However, the courts have continually recognized that the effectiveness of government entities may be undermined even when the speech touches on a matter of public concern. This is even more prevalent in law enforcement. In Breuer v. Hart, the court ruled law enforcement employers have a heightened interest in maintaining discipline and harmony in the workplace and in fostering a positive relationship with other agencies and the public, stating that there is an “urgent need for close teamwork among those involved in the ‘high stakes’ field of law enforcement.”

    And that brings us to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals 2002 case of Pappas v. Giuliani. The court upheld the termination of a police officer for anonymously disseminating racially offensive material, citing McAuliffe in its opinion. The Court wrote:

    “The effectiveness of a city’s police department depends importantly on the respect and trust of the community and on the perception in the community that it enforces the law fairly, even-handedly, and without bias … If the police department treats a segment of the population of any race, religion, gender, national origin, or sexual preference, etc., with contempt, so that the particular minority comes to regard the police as oppressor rather than protector, respect for law enforcement is eroded and the ability of the police to do its work in that community is impaired. Members of the minority will be less likely to report crimes, to offer testimony as witnesses, and to rely on the police for their protection. When the police make arrests in that community, its members are likely to assume that the arrests are the product of bias, rather than well-founded, protective law enforcement. And the department’s ability to recruit and train personnel from the community will be damaged.”

    (Firefighters and other public-sector employees, don’t think you’re off the hook because this decision pertained to law enforcement. Pappas was cited in the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals case of Locurto v. Giuliani in upholding the termination of firefighters who had been riding on a racially offensive float in a city parade.)

    Furthermore, in Phillips v. Pamplico the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, citing the U.S. Supreme Court in Rankin v. McPherson, upheld the termination of a police chief for criticizing his town council, writing that “a public employee who has a confidential, policy making, or public contact role and speaks out in a manner that interferes with or undermines the operation of the agency, its mission, or its public confidence, enjoys substantially less First Amendment protection than does a lower level employee.”

    Free speech meets social media

    So why is the public sector free speech analysis so important and relevant today? Because of the social media explosion! From Facebook to Twitter to Instagram—and in whatever forum going forward—off-duty public sector employees have a false sense of security that they can hide behind their keyboards and will be afforded constitutional protection from adverse employment action when they post offensive content.

    The country is littered with ex-public-sector employees who thought they could post whatever content they wanted on the internet without ramification, only to find out their employer did not feel the same way. These employees then run the First Amendment protection up the flagpole, only to find it is not there to protect them—because the government’s interest (as an employer) in regulating their speech outweighed their interests in that free speech.

    Did Justice Holmes have a crystal ball? In 1892 he declared public-sector employees had little, if any, constitutional protection for their “speech.” Today, social media and the internet have vastly complicated the forms of speech we engage in. But in terms of constitutional protection for that speech, the pendulum has swung right back to where it started.


    About the Author

    Rick Bates is a Professional Services Representative for Lexipol. He retired as a lieutenant after a 32-year career with the Worcester (MA) Police Department, serving as a risk manager, accreditation manager, academy director, legal advisor, internal investigator, detective and patrol officer during his time with the department. Rick lectures frequently on risk management for law enforcement, police supervisory liability, and First Amendment and free speech issues for police. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Anna Maria College and his Juris Doctor from New England School of Law. Rick is a 2012 graduate of the FBI National Academy Session 249 and graduated from the Massachusetts Police Leadership Institute.


  • 04 Dec 2017 10:28 AM | International Public Safety Association (Administrator)

    By Tom Joyce with Vigilant Solutions, an Official IPSA Corporate Supporter

    Whether it’s Pew or Gallup, there are reports of anywhere from 270 to 310 million guns in the U.S. And with the recent massacre in Las Vegas, the worst shooting in U.S. history, gun ownership and gun access have become main topics of conversation again.

    When it comes to gun violence, Chicago bears the brunt of it. It seems that every Monday, the Windy City’s weekend violence stats make national news. Chicago’s raw numbers are the largest in the country for violence. But, where is the mention of the 17 other cities, that have a higher per capita homicide rate or the 10 other cities that have higher per capita non-fatal shootings?

    CDC statistics

    The violence in this U.S. is disturbing. Having worked as a police officer and ultimately as a homicide investigator from the 1980s until the 2000s, I was constantly dismayed at the senseless loss of life. New York City has done a remarkable job of not only keeping violence under control, but continuously driving the violent crime statistics to incredible lows. So, what can these other cities learn from NYPD? 

    The Centers for Disease Control reports that seven children (under the age of 19) die every day from gun violence. With these statistics by the CDC, that means that in any given week, 49 children die from gun violence. In a month, the number increases to 196, and in a year, we lose an average of 2,352 children to gun violence.

    Something, needs to be done to save innocent lives. And, it starts when you have the right strategies and tools at your disposal.

    Increase vigilance

    Cities need better strategies to support the men and women who attempt to prevent and ultimately investigate violent crimes. And for tools, technology is a necessary complement to smart people and processes. Staying vigilant is important when keeping communities safe.

    At the recent International Association of Crime Analysts annual conference, keynote speaker NYPD Chief Dermot Shea spoke about precision policing, a concept which focuses on the small amount of people responsible for the disproportionately high amount of crime.

    Chief Shea also spoke of targeting organized narcotics gangs and violent serial offenders, and how in those investigations, you shouldn’t leave any stone unturned. That includes the highly valuable practice of connecting gun crimes based on forensic evidence left behind in the form of ballistic evidence. He begged the attendees to not “kick shell casings down the sewer,” and to focus on connecting the shots.

    About the Author

    Tom is a retired member of the NYPD in the rank of Lieutenant Commander of Detectives. He commanded the NYPD Cold Case Squad upon his retirement and additionally held many other roles within the detective and organized crime bureaus. Prior to working with Vigilant Solutions, Tom was the Director of Law Enforcement Market Planning for LexisNexis Government Services. Tom often lectures on various subject matters relating to Homicide Investigations and has published numerous articles on criminal investigations. Tom is currently a member of the International Homicide Investigators Association’s Advisory Board.

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  • 24 Nov 2017 8:21 AM | International Public Safety Association (Administrator)

    By Kassondra O’Hara, Communications Training Officer, Troy Police Department

    One area that often receives little attention in the communications field is that of recruiting new employees. The 911 communications center profession is often overlooked and misunderstood by the general public, and recruitment is a powerful tool that can be leveraged to explain what the job entails.  

    Due to the number of specialized skills that communications center employees are required to have by the completion of their training period, it is almost impossible to find the needed number of applicants when you are reliant on them finding you and your agency. Implementing a realistic recruitment campaign will ensure that all applicants get an accurate picture of what the daily life is like in the communications center.

    Transparency during recruitment

    Issues such as stress, overtime, shift work and the physical effects of the job should be described thoroughly and honestly so that the potential recruit can make a sound decision on whether this is truly the career they wish to pursue. Communications centers are often guilty of sugar-coating the stressors in front of new employees and this can back-fire when they eventually realize that this is not what they signed up for. Prospective employees are more likely to be receptive to training and will be better mentally prepared if they are given the full description up front. 

    All recruiting campaigns should include the center’s current employees one way or another. Let current employees know the center is actively recruiting, ask them to refer candidates and tell them that potential applicants may want to meet with them and also observe them in action. In addition to allowing potential employees to be able to meet and speak to current employees, giving them a better idea of what to expect, this also helps to improve morale within the center.

    Employees enjoy the opportunity to help in making decisions and being a part of the progression of their center. Recruitment can take place at job fairs, open houses, community events, social media, college and high school campuses, and even from current employees’ everyday contact with people who may be interested in our line of work.

    Dedicating extra time to finding quality employees will pay off in the long run as there is less of a chance that that time will be spent later in replacing an employee who was a poor hiring position.

    Scheduling new, current employees

    Depending on the extent of unfilled positions in any given communications center, scheduling may have to be reevaluated to make sure that all shifts are covered with the mandatory amount of people. Just keep in mind that while overtime is expected in our profession, employees need days off, scheduled and for emergencies. This may require a change in shift hours such as eight-hour shifts to 10-hour shifts. Or it may include rotating shifts, changes in off days, rotating off days or transferring of shifts.

    Before making any changes in scheduling, the pros and cons need to be assessed and the communications center supervisor needs to be prepared for some push-back or dissatisfaction among employees. Making scheduling changes is often something that causes employees to be discouraged as some may be on their preferred shift or have their preferred days off. It may also affect an individual’s family life (e.g. child care options) and even cause short-term physical stress (e.g. shift in sleep patterns).

    Unfortunately, any significant scheduling changes will disappoint employees. Therefore, all communications center supervisors must keep each employee’s preferences in mind and communicate the reasons and expected time frames for the change. The more communication that takes place and the more opinions that current employees can express will increase the chances of a smooth transition to a more conducive schedule.

    Overall, communications center supervisors must realize that while they are in overall control of how a center operates, that they must work with their current employees as an inclusive team to ensure that operations run smoothly.

    Without the cooperation and respect of those that they oversee, everything that a manager attempts to accomplish will be in vain. As more attention is brought to the emotional, mental and physical health of those in the emergency communications field, hopefully we will soon be on the road to making the constant understaffing of centers a thing of the past.

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    About the Author

    Kassondra O’Hara is an Emergency Communications Operator at the Troy Police Department in Troy, AL and has served since 2006. She has functioned as a Communications Training Officer since 2010. She has recently become certified to train regionally through APCO and is currently serving on the IPSA Communications Committee.


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