The Ground Truth: Perspectives of 9-1-1 Center Leaders

Wednesday, August 9, 2023 | 2:00- 3:00 p.m.
Moderated by Jeff Cohen, APCO International
Panelists: Kelle Hall,  Town of Highland Park (TX) Department of Public Safety; Erika Wilson, City of Albuquerque; Heather McGaffin, Office of Unified Communications, Washington D.C.

APCO’s Chief Counsel Jeff Cohen led a discussion with a panel of 9-1-1 center leaders on the impact of evolving technology in the emergency communications center (ECC). The conversation examined how deployment of Next Generation 9-1-1, meaning the ability to receive, analyze, and process photos, videos, and other data, can enhance emergency response. The panelists also discussed unique approaches to addressing staffing challenges in ECCs. For example, D.C. Office of Unified Communications Director Heather McGaffin explained that her center recently implemented “Prospect Days,” which allow several prospective applicants to visit the center and complete certain aspects of the application process on-site. During the discussion, all three panelists indicated that the number one issue in their ECCs was addressing mental health challenges and discussed wellness initiatives they’ve implemented, such as peer support programs.

Submitted by Alison Venable