Staffing Shortages & Retention in ECCs

We see it in the news, in discussions on PSConnect and in talking with members — emergency communications centers (ECCs) being short staffed is a growing issue in the industry. Not only does this negatively impact 9-1-1 services and the communities you serve, but it’s impacting your mental health. Telecommunicators are overworked — this was a problem before the pandemic and now illness and quarantine within ECCs have amplified the issue. On this page, we have collected APCO resources that can help ECCs identify the causes of and address staffing shortages. We will continue to add resources to this page as they are developed.


The State of 9-1-1 Staff Performance and Retention

Recorded May 24, 2023
CDEs Earned: 1  |  Free for APCO Members

Is your 9-1-1 center struggling with staff performance and retention? You’re not alone. Issues like these are putting a strain on 9-1-1 centers everywhere, and there are many contributing factors. Our recent benchmark study on the current State of 9-1-1 Staff Performance and Retention pulls back the covers to examine why 9-1-1 telecommunicators are leaving and best practices you can put into practice to close the revolving door to do more with less.

Sponsored by NICE


Limited Staff and Increasing Calls for Service: Leveraging Affordable Technology to Address Staffing Challenges

Recorded April 4, 2023
CDEs Earned: 1  |  Free for APCO Members

Learn how to affordably manage call volume with limited staff using fully automated dispatch alerting. During this webinar, you’ll hear from Todd Tuttle, recent Assistant Fire Chief of Greensboro, NC on how implementing automated dispatch alerting improved the efficiency of Greensboro’s dispatch center.

Sponsored by US Digital Designs

Register to watch the recording

Leveraging Automated Dispatch Alerting to Address Workload and Staffing Challenges

Recorded October 11, 2022
CDEs Earned: 1  |  Free for APCO Members

Hiring and retaining dispatchers has become a major challenge for most emergency dispatch centers. Dispatcher workload and stress largely contribute to this, but how do you address these issues? Join Todd Tuttle as he shares his experience with automated dispatch alerting and how it can help reduce PST workloads and improve response times.

Sponsored by US Digital Designs

Register to watch the recording

Improving Staffing for ECCs: How to Measure Your Staffing Needs

Recorded June 22, 2022
CDEs Earned: 1  |  Free for everyone

APCO recognizes that emergency communications centers are struggling with staffing and retention and is offering this webinar to address some of these issues. In this webinar, APCO staff and ECC personnel will describe tools for measuring performance and staffing needs. Analyzing your ECC’s performance and staffing needs is helpful for requesting funding for additional positions, justifying hiring and retention bonuses, and reporting positive performance to leadership and the public.


Project 43: Broadband Implications for the PSAP: Workforce

The workforce in a fully broadband-enabled ECC will require an expanded set of knowledge, skills, and abilities as well as new staffing models to manage critical incident exposure, workforce burnout, retention challenges, and generational differences.

PSC Magazine Articles

PSC, APCO’s bi-monthly magazine is the authoritative source of information on public safety communications worldwide. Articles cover the range of communication center operations, regulatory issues, new and existing technology and products, and much more.  PSC magazine, in either print and digital form, is a benefit of APCO membership.

Here are some recent articles dealing with staffing and retention issues:


APCO 2023 Sessions Related to Staffing & Retention

Planning on attending APCO 2023?  Check out some of the professional development sessions focused on staffing and retention:

The Power of Appreciation!
Sunday, August 6; 9-10 a.m. and 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Building Better Training
Sunday, August 6; 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Surviving Dispatcher Stress On and Off the Job
Sunday, August 6; 1-2 p.m.

Stay Interviews: Building Enthusiastic Stayers
Sunday, August 6; 9-10 a.m.

Travelling Dispatchers: Alternative Staffing Solution
Sunday, August 6; 9-10 a.m.
Monday, August 7; 3:30-4:30 p.m.

Getting Creative With ECC Staffing and Working From Home
Monday, August 7; 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, August 8; 3-4 p.m.

Leveraging Technology to Offset Staffing Challenges
Wednesday, August 9; 8:30-9:30 a.m.

Retaining Staff – Are They Happy?
Wednesday, August 9; 8:30-9:30 a.m.

Morale: the Good, the Bad and the Fixable!
Wednesday, August 9; 3:30-4:30 p.m.

Public Safety Staff Management
Wednesday, August 9; 2-3 p.m.

More APCO Resources

APCO Course: Public Safety Communications Staffing and Employee Retention

Designed to provide guidance and information to ECC employees at every level, this course provides over 300 tips, guidelines and effective practices on subjects ranging from creating effective shift schedules to candidate recruitment and from maintaining staff to employee recognition.


APCO Project RETAINS (Responsive Efforts To Address Integral Needs in Staffing) provides managers with tools and strategies to increase the effectiveness of their own management practices, thereby improving staffing, retention and employee satisfaction in emergency communications centers throughout the country.

Project RETAINS has two complementary parts – the study of ECC directors and employees and the RETAINS Toolkit 3.0.

Military Employment Guidebook for ECCs (Updated June 2024)

This document as a guide for ECCs to initiate engagement with the veteran and military spouse communities to tap into the broad, and often times confusing, networks to access talent that are known for understanding commitment to service and dedication to mission.