Standing Up, Standing Behind the 9-1-1 SAVES Act

By James Lockerbie, Master Communications Officer, Egg Harbor Township PD, and Timothy Cunningham, Lead Public Safety Telecommunicator, Stafford Township PD

My fellow Atlantic Chapter of APCO member Tim Cunningham and I were honored to have been invited to literally stand behind Rep. Norma J. Torres (CA-D-34) and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-R-1) along with other members of the 9-1-1 community as they gave their remarks during the introduction  ceremony for H.R. 6319 9-1-1 SAVES Act (Third time is a charm!)

Our day started at 05:30hrs on the Garden State Parkway meeting at the Frank Sinatra rest stop.  I jumped into his car, and off we went south to the nation’s capital, arriving at 09:30hrs approximately a half hour early.  The ceremony took place at the House Triangle (a small grassy triangle on the East side of the Capitol Building). Promptly at 10:00hrs, Rep. Norma J. Torres took to the podium to begin her speech.  First, she explained the intent of the bill and then she went on to describe in detail her experiences as a former 9-1-1 Public Safety Representative with the LAPD that makes this particular bill so important to her.

Next up, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, a former FBI Agent himself, began his comments by recognizing our important role in the chain of response to our communities’ calls for help.  An important takeaway from his comments came when he referenced a rule allowing any bill with 290 or more cosponsors to go to the floor of the House for a vote!  My ears perked up to this comment as a fellow RPL graduate, Rebekah McAleese (WI), mentioned this rule to me previously.

At first glance, 290 seems like a formidable number, but there were only 40 cosponsors listed on Rep. Norma Torres’ press release immediately following the introduction ceremony. At the time this article was written, 28 additional cosponsors had been secured for a total of 68 cosponsors.

Where are the cosponsors from? To find the answer visit .

Introducing the 9-1-1 SAVES Act in the 11th month of the 118th session of Congress puts us under pressure to secure as many cosponsors as possible as soon as possible. I encourage you to use all that apply as talking points in support of your request for your representative to add his or her name to the list of cosponsors in support of the 9-1-1 SAVES Act.

Having the opportunity to stand behind Rep. Norma J. Torres and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick during the 9-1-1 SAVES Act reintroduction ceremony was not just a symbolic gesture — it was a powerful statement of solidarity and commitment to our shared cause.

From the early morning meetup at the Frank Sinatra rest stop to the culmination of the ceremony at the House Triangle, every moment of that day was steeped in significance. As a member of the Atlantic Chapter of APCO, being part of this significant event was both an honor and a responsibility. The gravity of the occasion was not lost on me, considering the pivotal role that the 9-1-1 SAVES Act plays in reshaping the narrative and support for our profession.

The importance of our physical presence at the press conference cannot be overstated. It went beyond being a mere attendee; it was a visible testament to the unity and strength of the 9-1-1 community. Standing shoulder to shoulder with fellow APCO members and representatives from our industry, I felt a deep sense of camaraderie and purpose. Our collective presence was a vivid expression of our dedication to advocating for change and securing the recognition our profession deserves.

APCO’s chief counsel, Jeff Cohen, passionately addressed the 9-1-1 SAVES Act, expressing his unwavering commitment to seeing it through. I am confident that we, as APCO members, can play a pivotal role in supporting Mr. Cohen and the entire government relations team in their advocacy efforts. This is the moment for us to stand shoulder to shoulder with our fellow 9-1-1 professionals and offer our resolute support.

The impact of that day has reverberated far beyond the confines of the Capitol grounds. The pictures and videos captured during the event have become potent tools in spreading awareness and garnering support. News outlets and social media platforms have amplified our message, reaching corners that were previously untouched. In the digital age, the reach of our advocacy knows no bounds. The images and videos serve as a rallying cry, to take action for all those who witness them.

It’s time to take action; mobilize, write letters, and engage with your members of Congress. I encourage my fellow APCO members to visit the APCO advocacy page and submit your letter today. As you’re completing the take action form letter, I might suggest using local newspaper articles or TV news reports showcasing a recent personal experience that may demonstrate a protective service you provided to your community within their congressional district. In addition to the previous suggestions, Reps. Torres and Fitzpatrick have provided us with an opportunity for change, and it is our responsibility to seize it!

We find ourselves at a pivotal juncture where our actions can shape the trajectory of our profession. It’s not enough to have stood witness to this event; we must become active participants in its making. Every voice matters, and every letter counts. The act of putting pen to paper or fingers to keys carries immense weight in the realm of legislative advocacy. Writing letters to representatives is a tangible and effective way to convey our collective message. We need everyone, from seasoned professionals to those just starting their journey in the 9-1-1 community, to join this endeavor.