04/12/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/12/2019 12:33
Every year during the second week of April, the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International and other public safety organizations honor public safety professionals
There are 100,000 public safety telecommunicators serving in more than 6,000 call centers across the nation
WASHINGTON, DC - Today, U.S. Representatives Norma J. Torres (CA-35), the only former 9-1-1 dispatcher serving in Congress, and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-1), a former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent and federal prosecutor, introduced a bipartisan resolution declaring the week of April 14-20, 2019 as National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week to recognize the important role of these dedicated professionals in the nation's national security framework.
'As a former 9-1-1 dispatcher, I know these public safety telecommunicators are the first line of defense in an emergency. Whether it's a natural disaster, a crime that's underway, or talking to a caller on the verge of suicide, dispatchers are behind the scenes, expertly coordinating emergency response for our first responders and law enforcement officers,' said Torres. 'We must recognize National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week to give dispatchers the credit they deserve here in Congress and across the nation. Congress should also quickly pass our 911 SAVES Act. The best way to truly honor these professionals is to ensure their job classification reflects their lifesaving, critical work and grants them access to resources they need to keep our communities safe.'
'Public safety telecommunicators play a pivotal role in coordinating effective responses to crises affecting our communities,' said Fitzpatrick. 'By directing the urgent concerns of the public to law enforcement officials, public safety telecommunicators work to ensure emergency services are delivered where needed. I am proud to introduce this resolution with my friend and colleague, Congresswoman Torres, to recognize National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week as we continue to advocate for the passage of our 911 SAVES Act in support of these dedicated public servants.'
The resolution is co-sponsored by Representatives Ro Khanna (CA-17), Anna Eshoo (CA-18), Susan Davis (CA-53), Raul M. Grijalva (AZ-3), Raul Ruiz, M.D. (CA-36), Jared Golden (ME-2), and Jim Cooper (TN-5).
Last month, Torres and Fitzpatrick introduced the bipartisan 911 Supporting Accurate Views of Emergency Services (SAVES) Act to reclassify 9-1-1 call-takers and dispatchers from 'Office and Administrative Support Occupations' to 'Protective Service Occupations' in the Office of Management and Budget Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) catalog. The current classification reflects an outdated, misinformed view of public safety telecommunicators. The 911 SAVES Act is the first bill of its kind to give 9-1-1 dispatchers the recognition they deserve for the work they do every day to protect and save the lives of the public and first responders.
Torres is a member of the House Appropriations and Rules Committee. Prior to her time in Congress, she spent more than 17 years working as a 9-1-1 dispatcher. Torres is a member of the Congressional NextGen 9-1-1 Caucus and has introduced the Next Generation (NG) 9-1-1 Act of 2017 to strengthen federal efforts to help state and local governments to transition to NG9-1-1 technology by providing new federal funding, technical assistance, and training, while ensuring 911 is kept under state and local control. She has long led calls to ensure 9-1-1 professionals receive the recognition and respect they deserve for their lifesaving work.
Fitzpatrick spent 14 years as an FBI Supervisory Special Agent fighting political corruption and supporting global counterterrorism efforts - including being embedded with U.S. Special Forces as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He is a Certified Public Accountant, Emergency Medical Technician, and served as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney focused on drug crimes.
Full text of the resolution is available here.