Georgia Association of Public Safety Communications Officials

Georgia APCO joins effort to reclassify Public Safety Telecommunicators

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 6, 2019

Athens, Georgia – In 2014, APCO International began a grassroots campaign to ensure two important changes to the 2018 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) coordinated by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). As part of this process, APCO filed formal comments recommending the following changes to the revision: Change the occupation name of “Police, Fire, and Ambulance Dispatchers” to “Public Safety Telecommunicators”, and, change the classification from Office and Administrative Support Occupations to Protective Service Occupations.

APCO has since provided extensive explanation and examples of the ‘protective’ nature of work performed by Public Safety Telecommunicators each and every day. On November 28, 2017, OMB published their final decision which accepted changing the detailed occupation name to ‘Public Safety Telecommunicators’ but rejected the suggestion of classifying them as Protective Service Occupations.

On March 7, 2019, Congresswoman Norma Torres introduced a bill called the 911 SAVES Act which would direct OMB to update their classification for public safety telecommunicators as a protective service within the SOC catalog. This bill, currently still in committee, garnered over 100 co-sponsors in the House and over 20 for the companion bill in the Senate.

On June 17, 2019, members of the Georgia APCO Board of Officers met with staff from Congressman Doug Collins office to discuss the importance of reclassification of 911 Public Safety Telecommunicators at the state level. Congressman Collins comes from a Public Safety background, his father enjoyed a long career with the Georgia State Patrol. The congressman himself, in his early years, was a volunteer firefighter, and later on, he served as the Chaplain for the Gainesville Fire Department for many years. Congressman Collins is now a co-sponsor of 911 SAVES Act Legislation, which he fully supports and feels this is the right direction to take, in recognizing our 911 Public Safety Telecommunicators for their protective, lifesaving work.

The Georgia APCO Board of Officers is committed to this effort and will not rest until 911 Public Safety Telecommunicators in Georgia have the respect and recognition that they deserve.

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About Georgia APCO: Georgia APCO is a member-driven association of communications professionals that provides leadership; influences public safety communications decisions of government and industry; promotes professional development; fosters the development and the use of technology for the benefit of the public; and, serves the Public Safety Communications Community of the State of Georgia.