The APCO Institute Adjunct Instructor Corps
The APCO Institute Adjunct Instructor Corps is an elite group of Instructors, hand picked by the APCO Institute to serve as Ambassadors in delivering training and education to public safety communications personnel throughout the world.
These Instructors are the “best of the best” and must pass a stringent application and review process that requires demonstration of an above average knowledge of the subject matter and the embodiment of professionalism in their conduct - both in and out of the classroom.
If you think you have the experience and qualifications to meet the challenge of becoming an APCO Institute Adjunct Instructor, contact us at APCO Institute for more information.
Adjunct Instructor Corps
Melissa is currently serving as 911 Communications Director for the City of Roswell Police Department in Metro Atlanta, GA. Her duties include all aspects of management, direction, coordination, training and quality control of the 31-person staffed PSAP. Prior to this position, Melissa worked at Orange County Emergency Services (NY) where she spent the majority of her career in the Training Division. Her passion is teaching dispatchers how to improve their performance; focusing specifically on topics like Active Shooter Incidents, Crisis Negotiations and the core telecommunicator classes.
Melissa is a graduate of Marist College and has recently completed APCO’s Registered Public Safety Leader (RPL) program. Her focus and priority is to be a mentor, coach and positive role model to members of the 911 community. Melissa also serves on the Board of Directors for the Georgia Association of Women in Public Safety. She is an experienced instructor, conference coordinator and participant in various public safety areas.
In her spare time, Melissa enjoys family gatherings, volunteer work and quality time with her dog.
Mark has been serving as Executive Director of the Terrebonne Parish Communications District since 1996 and an APCO Instructor since 1998. Mark’s PSAP duties include all aspects of PSAP management (i.e., call taking, dispatching, addressing) which includes a staff of 25 Telecommunicators. His passion as an Adjunct Instructor is teaching Co-Host classes. He has taught in numerous states throughout the U.S. including overseas. He has presented at APCO State and National conferences and conventions and served various positions for the Louisiana Chapter. He is a graduate of the University of Louisiana, Lafayette and loves his family, art and photography.
Bernard J. “Buster” Brown, ENP, RPL
Bernard J. “Buster” Brown ENP,RPL, is past president of NENA and 911 Director of Fayette County 911, in Fayetteville, Georgia. Originally from Lancaster, New York, he has been in public safety for 32 years and has served in almost every capacity in emergency communications, from dispatcher to 911 director.
Buster has appreciated the advancement of the industry and has been involved as a career partisan for learning. He applauds the guidance of mentors along the way and strives to collaborate, support and coach others in a proactive manner to better the community through service in public safety.
Buster and his wife, Nancy, have two sons and four daughters. He is an outdoor enthusiast, enjoys meeting new people and laughing at least once a day.
Jeryl Anderson is the Special Initiatives Officer for Orange County Emergency Services and has been a Telecommunicator for over twenty-five years. She has been a certified instructor since the 1990’s and has vast experience in class room presentation to include, but not limited to, curriculum and testing development and on-line course development and implementation. She is proud to have been at the beginning of the Telecommunicator Certification Course for North Carolina Telecommunicators, during her time as a Criminal Justice Instructor Coordinator with the NC Justice Academy, where for eleven years, she taught, edited, and implemented the curriculum across the state of North Carolina.
Jeryl is an experienced on line instructor, conference speaker and event coordinator. She is also a past NC APCO President and board member and remains active in the NC Chapter of APCO, as one of the chapter Training Coordinators.
Jeryl enjoys spending time with her new spouse, Kevin. She is also a dedicated Girl Scout Troop leader and serves as the Durham Service Unit 215, Area 11 Manager for NC Coastal Pines Girl Scout Council. She is also a dedicated choir member at Orange Grove Missionary Baptist Church, where she participates in various ministries.
Training and Administrative Supervisor, Emergency Communications Department, Cambridge, MA
Leslie has over 20 years experience in many facets of public safety. She began her career at the Boston Police Department as a communications equipment operator and a trainer. She became the first recipient in Massachusetts to receive the Jeff Grossman 9-1-1 Award in 1994. Leslie served as President of the Massachusetts Communications Supervisor Association from 2003-2005 and remains active in promoting training and development of dispatchers statewide. Leslie has been an APCO Institute Adjunct Instructor for 12 years and has taught throughout the New England area sharing her police, fire and EMS experiences. She served on the Conference Committee for the APCO International Conference held in Boston in 2000. Leslie recently joined the Emergency Communications Department in Cambridge, Massachusetts located in Harvard Square as the Training and Administrative Supervisor.
William D. “Bill” Carrow
Bill has over 39 years public safety communications experience, 32 with the Delaware State Police where he served as Chief of Communications for 15 years. He retired March 31, 2017 after 5 years as the first Deputy Director of the Communications Division under Delaware Department of Safety & Homeland Security. Bill’s accomplishments include completing rebanding of over 13,000 radios ahead of schedule and ushering in a technology refresh project for the state’s 800 MHz radio system.
He served on the APCO Board of Directors from 2007-2012 and was APCO’s 75th president. Notable accomplishments include chairing two APCO International conferences and active participation on the nationwide COML Level 3 training standard committee. Bill was part of the Public Safety Alliance that fought for the “D” block spectrum to be used by FirstNet, promoted partnership through establishment of the CALEA committee and established increased overall membership through the group membership initiative.
He is a volunteer firefighter/NR-EMT, serving for 43 years at the Citizen’s Hose Company Smyrna, and for the past two years has served at Little Creek Fire Company.
In addition to being an adjunct instructor for the APCO Institute, he is a field instructor for the Delaware State Fire School.
Bill has received the Leadership in Technology Award from the International Association of Chiefs of Police in 2004, Civilian Employee of the Year for Delaware State Police in 2004, and was named to the Fellowship of the Radio Club of America in 2011.
Lee Ann Delp, RPL
Lee Ann is the Operations Manager for the Essex Regional Communication Center. She began her career in West Newbury, Massachusetts, in 1998, where she still works part-time as their Emergency Management Director and works an occasional dispatch shift. Discovering a passion for teaching and the 9-1-1 profession, Lee Ann has served on numerous boards and committees including five terms as president of the Massachusetts Communication Supervisors Association. Lee Ann enjoys teaching both live and online classes as an APCO Adjunct Instructor, which she has done since 2012. When she is not working or teaching, she loves spending time with her family, dogs and miniature horse.
David Dodd is the Communications Director at Cleveland County 911 Communications in North Carolina. He has a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration, from Gardner-Webb University, has been an active APCO member since the 1980's and is a Past President of the NC APCO Chapter. David became an Adjunct Instructor in 1997, with the creation of the APCO Institute Online.
Natalie Duran has been actively involved in the public safety arena since 1976. Natalie spent 36 years at Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department (MDFR) where she began her career as a Fire Rescue Dispatcher, Supervisor, retiring as a Fire Communication Officer (manager) in 2012.
Since retiring from MDFR in 2012, she has continued to pursue her love for training as an APCO adjunct instructor. In 2006 Natalie was one of the founding members of the National Joint Telecommunicator Emergency Response Taskforce (TERT) Initiative and has been instrumental in the teaching of basic and team leader classes nationwide. Natalie continues to serve as the Florida TERT Coordinator and is actively involved with her Florida Chapter.
Natalie currently enjoys teaching the following APCO courses: Public Safety Telecommunicator (PST); Fire Service Communications (FSC); Law Enforcement Communications(LEC); Communications Training Officer (CTO); Communications Center Supervisor; Disaster Operations; Crisis Negotiations; Active Shooter; Customer Service; Surviving Stress; and Comprehensive Quality.
When not teaching or working Natalie likes to travel, read and meet new people (especially her public-safety family). In Natalie’s own words: “I am a very proud Marine Mom of two awesome sons and a grandmother of five grandchildren. Truly Blessed."
Tracy Ertl has been a 9-1-1 dispatcher/telecommunicator with Brown County Public Safety Communications in Green Bay, Wisconsin for over 15 years. Brown County is a joint dispatch center serving 43 agencies with a dispatch/telecom staff of 57. Tracy has been utilized by her agency as a shift lead, acting lead, trainer, instructor (both internal and regional), mentor and quality assurance reviewer. Peers and management named her Brown County's 2004 Telecommunicator of the Year. She was selected by the United States Olympics Committee for the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Torino, Italy where she served as a communications specialist because of her public safety and writing experience. Tracy has an ongoing crime series at Barnes & Noble Booksellers and enjoys bringing online classes to life with her writing. She is a former EMT with special interest in fire dispatch and holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications.
Debbie has more than 30 years of public safety communications experience, having served as a calltaker, law enforcement dispatcher, trainer, supervisor, and manager at the Sarasota County, Florida, Sheriff’s Office. Her experience includes assisting with the consolidation of two law enforcement communications centers and five fire/rescue communications centers into a single PSAP, in addition to implementing a Quality Assurance program. Debbie currently serves as the Communications Accreditation Manager for this CALEA-accredited (Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies) PSAP.
Debbie has a Bachelor’s degree in Emergency Management and is currently completing a Master’s degree in Adult Education. She has been an APCO Adjunct instructor since 2011 and instructs online Communications Training Officer, Public Safety Telecommunicator, Communications Center Supervisor, Disaster Operations and the Communications Center, Public Safety Communications Staffing and Employee Retention, CALEA Public Safety Communications Accreditation Manager, and Illuminations courses.
Debbie has been an APCO member since 1988 and is an APCO Life Member. She is a Past President and Executive Council Representative of FL APCO and previously served as a Gulf Coast Regional Representative on the APCO International Board of Directors. She is a certified Florida Public Safety Telecommunicator, a CALEA Assessor and a Registered Public Safety Leader (RPL). She serves on the APCO International Communications Center Standards Committee, the Standards Development Committee, the CALEA Committee, and the Professional Communications Human Resources Committee (ProCHRT).
Born and raised in Indianapolis, Debbie remains an avid Indy car and NASCAR race fan.
Brian Geraghty joined the Plymouth County Massachusetts Sheriff's Department Communications Center in 1992 after a decade of EMS service in the city of Boston. He has served the Sheriff's Department as Communications Training Officer, Sheriff's Emergency Management Agency Deputy Director, Staff Instructor, In-Service Training Program Coordinator and currently serves as Director of Training. Brian is currently the Secretary of the Massachusetts Sheriffs' Association Education & Training Committee, an adjunct professor for Cape Cod Community College and has taught at the Ronald Reagan Institute for Emergency Medicine at George Washington University. Brian has been an APCO Institute Adjunct Instructor for over a decade and his experience in public safety issues has allowed him to teach students from 30 states and 3 foreign countries.
Rhonda Harper, RPL
Rhonda Harper began her career in Salem, Oregon as a 911 Call Taker in 2002 and has been with the Fort Smith Police Department in Fort Smith, Arkansas since 2003. For the past nine years Rhonda has served as a Communications Training Officer, Lead Telecommunicator, Tactical Dispatch Coordinator, and created a 911 Education Program that is taught in elementary schools and to community organizations. In 2010 Rhonda took on a new role as the Communications CALEA (Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies) Accreditation Manager however still works in the 911 communications center from time to time (her true love and passion). Rhonda received her Registered Public-Safety Leader (RPL) designation from APCO Institute and was accepted as an Adjunct Instructor in 2009. She received her Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership from the University of Arkansas, Fort Smith in 2010 and her Masters in Emergency and Disaster Management from the American Military University in 2012.
Sheri Hokamp, RPL, CPE
Sheri Hokamp serves as the Communications Supervisor for the Biloxi Police Department in Mississippi. She began her career with the department in 1985 as a Dispatcher, and has served as the Department's Communications Supervisor and TAC (Terminal Agency Coordinator) since 1991. She served as a volunteer for the local community fire service for several years as a firefighter as well as a board member.
Sheri is an active member of APCO International and has participated as a chapter board member since 1991. She currently holds the position of President and Executive Council member for the APCO Mississippi chapter.
Over the years, she has participated in a wide variety of training programs and activities, include: first responder; emergency medical technician; emergency medical dispatch; NCIC TAC, police academy instructor; fire academy instructor; fire suppression; hazardous materials; rappelling; defensive driving; truck operations, air bank and critical stress debriefing, and many more. She is also a graduate of APCO’s Registered Public-Safety Leader (RPL) and Certified Public-Safety Leader programs.
In addition to serving as an APCO Institute Adjunct Instructor, Sheri is an instructor for the Mississippi Board of Emergency Standards and Training (BETST).
Roderick works for the Houston Emergency Center (HEC) in Texas as the Division Manager. He has been in Public-Safety for 19 years. He is responsible for the overall operations and supervision of personnel assigned to the Houston Emergency Center (HEC) Fire/EMS call taking and administrative functions. Responsible for ensuring operations are conducted in accordance with policies, procedures and guidelines of the Houston Emergency Center and the EMS Medical Director. Manages and directs Fire/EMS call taking evaluates referred job applicants, interview potential candidates, management of Fire/EMS call taking personnel and attendance records; Coordinates special projects including planning, research, presentations, promotions and evaluations. Interprets and disseminates administrative policies, procedures, rules and regulation in the day-to-day operations of 9-1-1. Roderick’s agency is the largest PSAP in the State of Texas and the call center floor is 36, 000 sq. feet (size of a professional football field).
Roderick has been an Adjunct Instructor for 2 ½ years. He has taught 50 classes in five states and over 100 classes online.
When not teaching or working Roderick likes to travel, fish, exercise and go to the movies.
Roderick’s own words: “I am glad to be a part of APCO International and its Adjunct Program. I love teaching and spreading my knowledge to other public safety communication personnel which makes others better at their job/careers.”
Carol works for Allegheny County Emergency Services in Pennsylvania, which serves 1.3 million residents, including the City of Pittsburgh. She has been a telecommunicator since 1985 and has served as her center's training coordinator, police liaison and shift supervisor and has been an Adjunct Instructor for the APCO Institute since 1995.
Frank is currently the Director of Emergency Communications for the City of Meriden, CT. Prior to taking the position as Director in Meriden, Frank served the Town of Greenwich, CT for over 20 years, starting as a civilian dispatcher in 1986, becoming a police officer in 1988 and finishing his career by developing the town's Dispatch Training Program.. In addition to be being a certified instructor with the APCO Institute, Frank is a P.O.S.T. Certified Instructor for Radio and Telephone and a State Certified Telecommunications Instructor. Frank is also a member of the APCO Standards Development Committee and the APCO Atlantic Chapter. This 20 year plus career began with answering an add for Ambulance Driver/ Dispatcher, he wanted to drive the ambulance.
Denesha started her career with the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office in Daytona Beach, Florida. She began as a 911 call taker and then served as a law enforcement dispatcher, communications training officer (CTO) and assistant supervisor, and was one of the first dispatchers to become Fire/Emergency Medical Service cross-trained when the communications center became fully consolidated.
She spent several years as a supervisor before being re-assigned to a communications training coordinator position. As a CTO, she worked with the State of Florida to achieve Florida Public Safety Telecommunicator Certification for her agency. Denesha is an American Heart Association CPR Instructor and served on the APCO Florida Training Committee.
She was recognized by the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office for her performance and awarded the Telecommunicator of the Quarter Award three times in her career. She is a Certified Individual and Group Critical Incident Stress Debriefer. She left the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office in August 2016 to pursue an adventure in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She currently teaches APCO’s CTO and EMD courses, and is working to obtain additional certifications to further her knowledge in public safety. Denesha enjoys attending and volunteering at the chapter and International APCO conferences.
In her spare time she enjoys exploring her new state of Colorado and competing in 5K runs. She truly loves training in public safety and can’t imagine doing anything else.
Christian Lyons is a Supervisor and Certified Training Officer for the Dane County Public Safety Communications Center in Madison, Wisconsin. A typical work day for Christian consists of supervising the operations of a shift of Communicators that are responsible for processing emergency phone calls and dispatching for 85 different law enforcement, fire and EMS agencies.
He has been an adjunct Instructor for APCO for 3 years, starting his tenure in Saudi Arabia where he taught classes to Security Staff of Saudi Aramco, the largest oil company in the world. Since then, he has taught dozens of online courses for APCO as well as traveled to Massachusetts and New York to teach APCO’s Public Safety Telecommunicator course. He teaches Comm. Center Supervisor; Comm. Center Supervisor Instructor; CTO; CTO Instructor; PST; PST Instructor; FSC; FSC Instructor; Crisis Negotiations; Customer Service; Active Shooter Incidents; Surviving Stress and Disaster Operations. He was involved in writing an updated version of APCO’s Fire Service Communications Manual.
When Christian is not working, he loves to do “handyman” work....he said “I know just enough about carpentry, electricity and plumbing to get myself into trouble.” He also likes to cook and spend time with his family. He said he can’t forget to mention his two dogs Sadie & Abby-they control his house. He has a cottage in the north-woods of Wisconsin, so he has spent quite a bit of time there fixing it up and just enjoying the tranquility of being in the middle of no-where.
Christian has worked in Public Safety for 23 years and has worn a few different hats including Fire Chief, Fire Inspector, Police Officer, Deputy Coroner and Telecommunicator.
In Christian’s own words: “Emergency communications is a great profession that ties in a lot of different aspects of public safety. I am happy to say that I finished my Master’s Degree a couple of years ago in Emergency & Disaster Management-I thought that day would never happen!”
Stephen Martini, ENP, has 14 years of experience in public safety communications, having worked in all PSAP roles, from telecommunicator to director, all in Tennessee. He credits APCO with helping him establish his knowledge base in this profession and has served the association at the state and national levels in chapter and committee work since 2010. Martini served as the direct supervisor of eleven frontline telecommunicators for three years and currently supervises a leadership team of six supervisors, one training manager and an IT systems specialist at a consolidated PSAP in Williamson County (Franklin), TN.
Robbie McCormick began her career in public safety telecommunications in 2008, earning Executive Certification, the state’s highest level of PST Certification in 2015. She has been a front line dispatcher, first-line supervisor, training coordinator and now serves as the Executive Director of the Regional Emergency Dispatch Authority (REDA) in Eddy County, New Mexico. REDA accepted their P33 National Training Program Certification in 2012 under Robbie’s CTO Program Management and has received their recertification in 2015 under her directorship.
She is a New Mexico Department of Safety Master Instructor and Professional Lecturer in eleven disciplines, having instructed over 1,900 hours for the State of NM. She is an Adjunct Instructor for the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center and Department of Homeland Security.
Robbie earned her AA in Criminal Justice, and was named the Criminal Justice Student of the Year by NMSU in 2002. She earned her Bachelors in Social Sciences with a minor in Criminal Justice, graduating Magna Cum Laud from USW. Her Master’s is in Education with an emphasis in Educational Psychology and Academic Counseling, which formed the basis of her passion for adult education and learning styles. That passion has truly found its home in the area of public safety telecommunications.
Mrs. McCormick has developed several courses for accreditation at a state level. She instructs at both the NM DPS in Santa Fe, NM and Southeast New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy at New Mexico Junior College in Hobbs, NM for their public safety basic academies. Since instructing at the state level, Robbie was instrumental in assisting New Mexico in adopting the APCO curriculum for their academies as well as using APCO courses for continued and advanced training for telecommunicators.
Through REDA’s affiliation with FLETC/DHS, she was also able to bring the APCO Institute and Curriculum to a Federal level by establishing the academies for a nationally certified Bureau of Indian Affairs Basic PST Academy, certifying both BIA and Tribal PST’s from across the nation.
She is a member of the NM Chapter of APCO and NENA and previous Vice President of the New Mexico APCO Chapter, teaching at the state conferences.
Steve has been the Director of Abbeville County Emergency Management in South Carolina since March 1998. He is a nationally registered paramedic, whose background includes four years in the U.S. Navy as a shipboard firefighter and Command Basic Life Support Instructor. In addition to his extensive experience and background in public safety, the South Carolina Office of Emergency Medical Services named Steve “Director of the Year” in 1999 and again in 2004. Steve has been an APCO Institute Adjunct Instructor since 2000.
An APCO Institute Adjunct Instructor since 2005, Sharmel has been with Abbeville County E-911 in South Carolina since 1998 and currently holds the position of 9-1-1 Coordinator.
Joseph Murphy, RPL
Joseph works for Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office as a Communication Supervisor. He has been in Public-Safety for 16 years. He Supervises 5 others on his shift. He also answers emergency and non-emergency calls for the County. And he dispatches Fire/EMS/Law Enforcement for the County and Town. His agency also monitor radio traffic of other agencies to include Virginia State Police, Virginia Department of Transportation and the Tow Companies assigned to their county. In addition, Joseph assists with training during in-house academy and when new personnel are assigned to his shift. Joseph’s agency is in the process of implementing text to 911 capabilities.
Joseph joined the Adjunct Program in 2014. He teaches classes online and in a live atmosphere. Joseph is married to Brittany for 9 years, 3 Children: Christian 9, Roman 7 and Teagan 9 months. In his spare time he enjoys golfing, spending time with family, he enjoys all sports but mainly watching/playing Hockey. He also spent 14 years in a Volunteer Fire Department and 4 of those as the Chief.
Joseph’s own words: “I enjoy my job, learning and teaching. I like challenges and I hope to continue my career and development. “
Lori VanGilder Preuss
Lori VanGilder Preuss has been actively engaged in the public safety industry since 1986. Lori spent 22 years at a Police Department in Florida, progressing from volunteer fire fighter to base level E-9-1-1 Operator to developing and instituting a Communications Training Officer Program, developing a Crime and Intelligence Analysis Program and prior to her retirement from there, supervising 3 divisions including E-9-1-1 Communications.
Currently, Lori enjoys working part time as a Telecommunicator. Lori became active with the Florida Chapter of APCO, andserved in positions such as Training Committee Chair person, Board Officer and wasPresident of the State Chapter 2007-2008. Lori started instructing with the APCO Training Institute in 1999, and enjoys facilitating both live and online classes. Lori can be found instructing PST, PSTI, CTO, CTOI, CCS, DOCC, Surviving Stress, Crisis Negotiations, Active Shooter, CSTPS, Comprehensive Quality and is also very active with the Illuminations program.
Lori has served on multiple APCO Institute Curriculum work groups and has written several articles for publication. Lori has served on two International APCO Committees, and continues to serve on the Florida APCO Emerging Technologies Committee. Lori holds a Bachelor’s degree in Adult Vocational Education and Industry Training, and is a State of Florida Certified Public Safety Telecommunicator.
Mike has been in public safety for over 30 years starting as an EMS volunteer in a small prairie town in the western Canada. Completed his Paramedic training in North Dakota and Connecticut, has worked as an Advanced Care Paramedic for MD Ambulance in Saskatoon, an EMT Instructor for SIAST and was a member of an International Earthquake Rescue team in the former Soviet Union – Armenia. Mike has been involved in Communications for 20 years as a dispatcher, trainer supervisor with the Saskatoon Fire Department. He holds numerous professional and instructor qualifications and is working towards his Business Administration through the University of Saskatchewan. Was the Program Chair for an APCO Canada Conference, is a conference speaker and publishes Communications training articles. Mike has been an APCO instructor for over 10 years and along with being an APCO Adjunct Instructor has trained and certified students from all over North America and around the world.
Dean has been with Prince George's County for one year. Prior to that he was the Training Coordinator and a police academy instructor with the University of Maryland Department of Public Safety for 8 years. Dean is an M.P.T.C. certified police academy instructor, a Certified N.C.I.C instructor, an F.O.P. Dispatcher of the Year recipient and a Certified First Responder. He is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Homeland Security Management.
Diana is the Director of Communications for the South Bend Police and Fire Communications Center in South Bend, Indiana. She has been with the South Bend Police since 1999. She started as a Communications Specialist and then became a Communications Supervisor. In November of 2006 she became the Assistant Director of Communications in charge of all training within the dispatch center. In April, 2012 she was appointed as the Director of Communications. She has been an APCO instructor at the agency level since 2006 in 2011 became an Adjunct Instructor for APCO teaching EMD and PST both online and in classroom settings. She has served as a contributing editor for the development of the APCO EMD Manager Course and has served on the committees for several of the EMD curriculum updates. She is an EMT as well as an American Heart Association CPR/First Aid instructor and TC Faculty Member. In 2009 she received the Chief’s Award of Merit for her work instructing law enforcement officers in CPR, First Aide and Bloodborn Pathogens.
Matt works for Lancaster County-wide Communications in Pennsylvania as the Primary Supervisor. He has been in Public-Safety for 30 years. He is responsible for the oversight of two Assistant Supervisors during day light hours. Staffing averages about 16 – 22 people during the day. He ensures that staffing levels are maintained for his shifts, approve leave, makes sure that call-taking and dispatching are handled properly, investigate complaints , schedule training for the staff with the training officer, arrange staffing for Public Education events, arrange tours and observers for the center, deploy as a Tactical Dispatcher during Field Communications deployments, serve on a statewide air-medical committee and state EMS plan committee, attend monthly county EMS, police, and fire chief meetings, serve on regional communications committees, and other duties as assigned.
Matt is also a Tactical Dispatcher, Emergency Management Specialist, FF-2 and Foam.
Matt has been an Adjunct Instructor for 5 years and he has taught 30+ classes in twenty states. He teaches Active Shooter, Crisis Communications, Communication Supervisor, Fire Service Communications and Disaster Operations.
Matt was in the State Police Command Post for the Nickel Mines School shooting as a Tactical Dispatcher.
When not teaching or working, Matt is active in the local Fire and EMS agencies. And he is a Semi Pro and High School football official.
Bob is a former firefighter/EMT and Campus Safety Officer, Bob has served in a variety of operational and leadership positions in an over 20 year career in public safety and emergency management. Rising through the ranks from frontline telecommunicator to County 9-1-1 Director, Bob also served as President of the West Virginia Enhanced 9-1-1 Council and held officer positions in the WV Chapters of APCO and NENA. Previously, he served as senior staff of APCO International, where he held the positions of Operations Manager for the APCO Institute and Director of Communications Center and 9-1-1 Services, as well as Director of Strategic Development for APCO and the Public Safety Foundation of America (APCO’s charitable foundation) before leaving to serve as consultant to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on emerging public safety technologies and state and local engagement. Bob holds degrees in emergency management and public safety telecommunications, and currently serves as Administrative Risk Management and Management Planning Officer for Arlington (VA) Public Schools where he oversees emergency/incident management, safety and loss prevention/control and serves as Administrative Officer for Facilities and Operations.
Debbie Smith began her 35-year career in public safety as a paramedic in Daytona Beach, Florida. In 1988 she transferred to communications and worked as a PSAP manager for a private emergency medical services (EMS) agency. After 25 years at the agency, she was involved in the consolidation of all of Volusia County, Florida, communications centers and became Assistant Director of that consolidated agency, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office Communications Center. Debbie retired from Volusia County in early 2017.
She holds an Associate’s Degree in Emergency Medical Services and Sign Language Interpreting. Debbie earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Emergency Management, with a minor in Public Safety Communications. She became involved with APCO in the 1980s and has served as an APCO Institute Adjunct Instructor a decade later. She is especially passionate about Fire and EMS communications disciplines, especially emergency medical dispatch.
Debbie lives with her husband and several rescue dogs and cats, loves to garden and hopes to begin traveling soon.
Gary Thomas, ENP, RPL
Gary works for Allegheny County Emergency Services in Allegheny County, PA as Asst. Chief/911 Coordinator. He has been in Public-Safety for 30 years. He is responsible for all operations of the 9-1-1 Division including telephone systems, radio systems, CAD/RMS system, Training/QA and GIS/MSAG. Gary’s agency currently serves 92 Law Enforcement agencies, 171 Fire Departments and 46 EMD agencies. There are over 250 Telecommunicators that handle over 1.5 million calls for service each year.
Gary has been an Adjunct Instructor for 13 years. Some of the courses he teaches are PST, CTO, FSC, CSS, Surviving Stress, Disaster Operations, Crisis Negotiations and APCO Instructor. Gary teaches online and in the classroom. Gary has taught 60+ classes online and 25+ live classes in 15 different states and in addition to Dubai.
Gary has served on the PST, CTO and FSC APCO Institute Workgroup.
When not teaching or working, Gary likes to fish, camp, or anything outdoors.
Jack Varnado has served as Deputy Director at St. Tammany Parish Communications District in Covington, Louisiana since March 2004. His responsibilities include being the staff contact with seven (7) PSAPs, training, overseeing the GIS and MSAG maintenance and public education. Jack was previously employed by East Baton Rouge Parish EMS/9-1-1 serving in the positions of Chief of Communications, Shift Supervisor, Communications Training Officer and Emergency Communications Officer and Medical Response Manager for the East Baton Rouge Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness. He has been affiliated with APCO since 1992 and became an Adjunct Instructor in 2003. He has also served as a contributing editor on several APCO Institute Courses and regularly conducts training sessions at the Annual APCO International Conference and Exposition. In 2002, Jack obtained his Associates Degree in Public Safety Telecommunications through the APCO Virtual College.
Rob Vawser is the Communication Center Manager for Life Link III in Minneapolis, Minnesota. LifeLink III is the premier air ambulance program with five helicopter base and a fixed wing base servingall of Minnesota and western Wisconsin. He has been in the air medical industry since 2002 with AirSt. Luke’s in Boise, Idaho. Rob has been involved in emergency services since 1986 including fire,law enforcement, EMS, and communications. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in EmergencyManagement/Public Safety Communications from Jacksonville State University and is pursuing aMaster’s Degree in Strategic Leadership from Black Hills State University. Rob instructs online andlive classes. He has been an adjunct instructor for APCO since 1998.
Theresa started her policing career in 1975 with Peel Regional Police in Brampton, Ontario as a records clerk. In 1976 she was selected as one of a group of the first civilian dispatchers for Peel Regional Police. In 1980, Theresa left Peel Regional Police and joined Durham Regional Police in Oshawa, Ontario, as a dispatcher and later a call taker. In 1989 she was awarded the position of Supervisor in Communications. Five years later, Theresa became the first civilian Manager of Durham Regional Police Communications Centre and 9-1-1 Manager.
In 2005, Theresa completed a Master’s Certificate in Regional Management from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and has been a certified APCO Agency Trainer since 2004. She served on the APCO Canada Board of Directors from 2009 to 2016, filling the roles of Director, President and Past President. She retired from policing in 2011. In 2015 Theresa participated in the Canadianization of the APCO Public Safety Telecommunicator 7th Edition Canada and in 2016 chaired the committee for the Canadianization of APCO’s Fire Service Communicators 2nd Edition Canada Course. Theresa was awarded the position of adjunct Instructor from APCO Institute in 2016, only the second Canadian to have an adjunct position.
Theresa currently is an instructor at Durham College and is the chairperson for the Program Advisory Committee in the 9-1-1 Emergency Communications Program. Theresa has long been an advocate for communicators and communications training and has been an active member of APCO since 1994.
Charles M. Vitale, RPL, CPE
Charles has been involved in Public Safety since 1998. His first role was as an Emergency Medical Technican for a volunteer ambulance agency in New York. Shortly after, he began his career at the Rochester Emergency Communications Department in Monroe County, NY.
During his tenure, Charles has been involved in training new hires in the classroom and as a Communications Training Officer. His skill in contributing to the development of his agency’s training curriculum and programs for all positions led to the successful creation of an AAS Degree in Public Safety Communications. He graduated in the inaugural class after it was approved by New York State Education Department.
Charles is passionate about teaching and enjoys being in the classroom as well as in online learning environments. His approach to training inspires his students to strive to be better in their careers than he is! His team philosophy approach urges his students to work together towards excellence while keeping each other on track to achieve the highest of standards.
Additionally, Charles is certified as an New York State Municipal Police Training Council Master Instructor. He coaches and mentors new law enforcement instructors as they pursue state certification as instructors, and he teaches police officers and recruits about proper public safety communications.