Saving Lives and Making a Difference
The Texas Legislature passed House Bill 1951 on Sept. 1, 2013, requiring all 9-1-1 telecommunicators (dispatchers and call-takers) to become licensed within their first year of employment. To help meet the new mandates, the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) 9-1-1 Regional Advisory Committee requested that the NCTCOG 9-1-1 Program conduct a feasibility study to find the best way to meet the new directives for new career telecommunicators. The Regional Police Academy’s Basic Course in Applied Police Science, which serves as the foundation course for becoming a law enforcement officer, became the basis for the Regional Telecommunicator Academy (RTA). After a year of research and planning, the NCTCOG 9-1-1 Program completed two pilot Regional Telecommunicator Academies and successfully graduated 40 recruits. On Aug. 25, 2016, the NCTCOG 9-1-1 Regional Advisory Committee unanimously approved the continuation of the RTA.
What does the RTA offer?
The RTA offers a four-week, Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE)-approved curriculum for 9-1-1 telecommunicators to obtain all licensing and training required within their first year of employment. The NCTCOG 9-1-1 Program’s RTA is the first in the nation to offer a licensing program opportunity to ensure 9-1-1 telecommunicators are prepared to be the FIRST first responders.
The curriculum consists of the courses below. Public safety agencies are invited to work with RTA Staff “frontloading” materials such as department-specific tests, policy and procedures, signal and disposition codes, geography, and/or continuing education (FEMA, TERT, and MyTCOLE), to name a few. This minimizes the on-the-job training and prepares new career telecommunicators in becoming a comprehensive partner in public safety. The RTA staff provides weekly updates to the recruit’s supervisor and/or manager highlighting his or her initiative, cognitive learning, and assertiveness. Evaluations keep all parties apprised on strengths and weaknesses.
|RTA Core Courses|
|TCOLE Rules and Regulations|
|Basic Telecommunicator Certification Course|
|National Center for Missing and Exploited Children|
|State Licensing Review and Exam|
What are the fiscal impacts?
The RTA is free of charge to Telecommunicators sponsored by a public safety agency. The RTA increases financial savings by eliminating training costs incurred by the public safety agency. This includes manpower shortages, training officer backfill, and overtime costs. Further non-tangible savings occur when recruits receive all of their training during one block of time and not piecemealed over the span of one year.
When is the next RTA?
Regional Telecommunicator Academy Class #004
July 10 – Aug. 4, 2017
NCTCOG 9-1-1 Program Offices
600 Six Flags Dr., Suite 226
Arlington, TX 76011
For more information, contact Brandon Isham, NCTCOG 9-1-1 Training Coordinator, at BIsham@nctcog.org or 817-695-9205.