Training our Dispatch Staff
Our Dispatch staff must undergo months of considerable training prior to actually answering any 911 calls. The majority of this is on-the-job training taught by Training Officers and Supervisors. More extensive training is also required, including the following:
Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) Training
Many of our Dispatch personnel are now EMD (Emergency Medical Dispatch) certified. This means they completed a 40-hour class, which teaches them how to give certain medical instructions over the telephone prior to the arrival of emergency services. For example, an EMD-trained dispatcher can give CPR instructions to a caller over the telephone in an effort to save the life of a victim.
NCIC (National Crime Information Center) Training
This is a mandatory 40-hour training course that all Dispatchers must attend. NCIC is a nationally computerized system controlled by the FBI, wherein law enforcement agencies may enter items such as stolen property, missing persons, etc. They may also conduct inquiries from the system, allowing them to check for warrants on persons, run driver’s license checks and vehicle tag checks, etc. The course teaches dispatchers the proper way to work this very detailed computer system.
E911 Dispatcher Course
This is a 80-hour, state-mandated course taught at the Criminal Justice Academy in Columbia, S.C. This course teaches the dispatcher skills in handling emergency telephone calls as well as the proper utilization of radios in communicating with emergency service agencies.
CTO (Communications Training Officer) Course
This is an internet-based class that teaches supervisors all aspects of training dispatchers. Supervisors take this course at their own pace, and it usually takes about six weeks to complete.
Communications Center Supervisor Course
This is also an internet-based course for dispatch supervisors. The course teaches them the basic supervisory skills in the area of communications, and it usually takes about six weeks to complete.
Dispatchers and dispatch supervisors also take a variety of other seminars and online courses that become available throughout the year.