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Illuminations CDE Programs

General Illuminations

The General Illuminations Program provides at-your-desk continuing education for telecommunicators and other public safety communications professionals. The program is offered as an annual subscription-based service.

Each month, Illuminations instructors present timely, relevant topics that can be accessed online, anytime during the month, from any computer with Internet access. Topic selections change each year. APCO also offers EMD Illuminations and CTO Illuminations, each of which features a different series of topics.

Each month-long course allows participants to earn one CDE, for a total of 12 CDEs per subscription year. Participants must submit copies of Illuminations certificates of completion to the Institute to receive CDEs.

General Illuminations Topics for 2020

Topics are subject to change.

Sovereign Citizens
The FBI defines sovereign citizens as those “… anti-government extremists who believe that even though they physically reside in this country, they are separate or ‘sovereign’ from the United States.” As a result, they believe they don’t have to answer to any government authority, including courts, taxing entities, motor vehicle departments, or law enforcement.” This can lead to additional challenges for vehicle stops and medical treatment as well as responding calls for service. This session will explore sovereign citizens and the impact on the PST.
After a Critical Incident
Whether it be a firefighter mayday, an officer down or other critical incidents, it is vital that the PST takes care of him/herself. This session will focus on actions to take after the critical event is over, including peer-to-peer, CISM, EAP, etc.
Situational Awareness
Evaluating the current event, anticipating possible changes, and projecting the future status are important aspects of the job. This session will discuss various situations in the comm center as well as events in the field and recognizing the clues/signs that can affect them.  
What Are You Inferring?
This course will delve deeply into inferences and the challenges that they create in the call taking process. Regardless of discipline, the PST must stay alert to the challenge of recording only factual information from the caller and not making assumptions that could create a public safety danger. Asking direct questions, clarifying questions and verifying information will all be covered.
Line of Duty Suicide
More first responders die from suicide than from line of duty deaths. This session will discuss the signs and symptoms associated with public safety responder stress, depression and suicidal thoughts. Mental health resources available to first responders will also be presented.
What Your Co-Workers Want You to Know
For the sake of shift camaraderie, there are often small irritations that are left unsaid. Many of these items are about your professional work ethics, This session will focus on those things that your co-workers want you to know, but do not want to say including please show up on time, sleep before shift, shush about your personal life, carry your share of the work, be happy (leave grumpiness at home), stop disappearing, be professional, clean your mess and more.
Why Won’t They Listen
Presenting issues/ideas to the communications center supervisor or manager can be challenging and often seems futile. This session will provide insights on ways to effectively communicate up the chain-of-command for results.
Neighbor Disturbances
Sometimes it starts with trees dropping leaves, someone decorating to an extreme for the holidays, children playing, messy garbage or loud cars but the one consistent factor in these situations is a person's home should be their place for happiness, and when the neighbor’s definition of happiness clashes, the results can be catastrophic. This session will focus on these neighborhood disputes and efforts to assist in de-escalation.
Apps at Work
There are many useful apps available for use in LE, fire, EMS and dispatch. This session will provide information on common public safety apps and their purposes.
How PSTs Bounce Back
Studies have been conducted regarding the phenomena of the PST and how we continue to rise to the occasion, regardless of the amount of work, the stress of the work and the seriousness of the situations processed. This session will focus on ensuring the PST provides self-care to retain this resiliency and flourish in this profession
During an emergency, alert and warning officials need to provide the public with life-saving information quickly. The Integrated Public Alert & Warning System (IPAWS) is a modernization and integration of the nation’s alert and warning infrastructure and will save time when time matters most, protecting life and property. .
Domestic Terrorism
The FBI defines domestic terrorism as “Americans attacking Americans because of U.S.-based extremist ideologies—comes in many forms in our post 9/11 world.” The PST must be ready to recognize and handle these situations when they arise.

Annual Subscription

$119 non-member
$109 APCO member
$99 per person (group of 26-50 registrants)
$89 per person (group of 51+ registrants)

Purchase General Illuminations

  • Go to the Illuminations registration page, where you will see a list of classes by date.
  • Select the month for the version of Illuminations you want to take
  • Click Register next to that topic and month.
  • Follow the instructions to complete registration for this track.

You will be subscribed to General Illuminations for 12 months starting with the month and topic you selected.