Idaho Law Enforcement Officials Push for Standardized Training for 911 Dispatchers

Law enforcement officials in Idaho are pushing for a new legislation proposal which would standardize training for 911 dispatchers statewide. As it is now, emergency dispatchers in Idaho receive on-the-job training through their local agency, but they’re not required to have any real curriculum-based formal training.

Emergency dispatchers are often the true first responders. Whether they’re giving basic first aid instructions, teaching a caller how to perform CPR, or calming the cries of a domestic abuse victim, 911 dispatchers are the lifeline for the person on the other end of the call. With such a high-acuity role, it really is surprising that no standardized training for these professionals to handle such life-or-death situations exists.

But law enforcement officials in Idaho are working hard to change that.

Idaho State Police Lieutenant Kevin Haight has been advocating on the part of law enforcement for legislation which would mandate statewide standardized training for 911 emergency dispatchers. “The point is, there is no standard. . . we’re trying to make a baseline standard so at least everybody gets the same foundation,” says Haight.

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The new legislation proposal would mandate that all 911 dispatchers in Idaho complete 40 hours of training, in addition to another 40 hours of training every two years in order to stay current with existing policy, procedure, and protocol. The legislation proposal includes additional training on effective coping mechanisms in order to help 911 dispatchers deal with the stress and trauma they face every day on the job.

Law enforcement organizations on board with a new legislation mandate include the Idaho Sheriff’s Association, the Idaho Chiefs of Police Association, and the Idaho State Police.

The 2016 Idaho Legislature is currently in the interim period between legislative sessions and is expected to reconvene for the 2017 legislative session on January 9, 2017.