Professional Communications Human Resources Committee (ProCHRT)
The idea for this taskforce evolved as a natural result of several conversations dealing primarily with retirement benefits at a reduced age for communications professionals, something the APCO Florida and Montana Chapters have been actively pursuing in different directions. The Florida Chapter is also attempting to see mandatory training standards set as a requirement by their legislature. At the same time, the Virginia Chapter is also seeking resources and information to further their efforts to advance First Responder designation for Telecommunicators in their commonwealth.
A nucleus of members came together during the 2009 Executive Council Mid-Year Meeting in Orlando, FL and discussed issues such as reducing the required years of service for retirement, professional certification, recognition as First Responder, Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and other issues that have plagued our members for years.
The Professional Communications Human Resources Taskforce, will gather information, study, and prepare reference materials of communications human resources and recognition issues from across the country. These include professional recognition, certification requirements and retirement eligibility, all of which will poise APCO to be a resource for our members while assisting directly with those issues that are national in scope.
Public Safety Communications works closely with Fire, Law Enforcement and Emergency Medical Services. However, the professionals in this industry are not afforded the same benefits as their comrades in public safety. It is believed the majority of communications personnel in this country have to work 30 or more years to receive a full retirement benefit, yet the stress of the job routinely precludes employees from completing their career and achieving retirement. Even though major strides have been made in recent years in having Telecommunicators recognized as First Responders in programs such as Communications Leader, in their basic job most Telecommunicators are not considered as meeting this distinction. When dealing with work schedules, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) excludes communications professionals from the ability to work a condensed work week and take the overage hours back as time-off in a 28-day cycle, something their police and fire/EMS counterparts can do.
Challenges Facing 9-1-1
The ProCHRT Committee created this online resource for everyone from frontline telecommunicators to upper-level managers who want to further efforts to recognize public safety telecommunications professionals, who often go unnoticed yet are the first of the first responders and can so greatly affect the outcome of emergency situations.
If you would like more information about the toolbox, or have information to contribute to these online resources, please contact the ProCHRT Committee at [email protected]. Because the toolbox will be updated continually as new information becomes available, we encourage you to visit often.