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Congratulations to Steve Souder on Your Retirement
Director, Fairfax County Department of Public Safety Communications
Life Member, APCO International
Life Member, Virginia Chapter APCO
Past Executive Council Delegate for Virginia, APCO International
Past President, Virginia Chapter APCO

What an amazing and successful career! Thanks for your advocacy for public safety communications, 9-1-1, and telecommunicators! And thanks for your friendship and support!

The Executive Board and Members of the Virginia Chapter of APCO salute you on your service and wish you a happy retirement!

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Virginia APCO Chapter’s Long Range Strategic Plan will set our direction, priorities, and a road map for identifying the resources and outcomes to achieve our goals, and have the flexibility to modify our plan as necessary.

Mission Statement

The members of this nonprofit association serve or support that function of government within the Commonwealth of Virginia which provides 9-1-1 and public safety emergency communications services, included but not limited to, the areas of law enforcement, forestry, conservation, fire, highway maintenance, emergency rescue and medical services, emergency management, and other activities supported or endorsed by federal, state, local and tribal governments.

Vision Statement

Virginia Chapter of APCO focus is to empower, communicate and educate all public safety communications professionals.

Goals and Strategies

  1. Enrich communications and outreach
    1. A. Establish and host Town Halls
    2. Prepare newsletters for distribution to members
    3. Enhance and post important updates to website
    4. Utilize Facebook and other social media for information updates
    5. Post information updates on PSConnect

  2. Enhance Stakeholder Relationships
    1. Identify and host routine meetings with Police and Fire Chiefs, Sheriff’s Association, VACO/VML and DCJS

  3. Human Capital Management
    1. Continue to explore industry best hiring practices
    2. Continue to push for State Mandated Training Requirements that are in line with APCO International’s Standards
    3. Continue to develop educational opportunities for members
    4. Improve upon attrition and retention rates by networking with agencies nationally that are having success in these areas
    5. Recruit and mentor emerging leaders

  4. Succession Planning
    1. Set clear expectations
    2. Growth and development
    3. Defined committee goals and objectives
    4. Quarterly committee reports
    5. Monthly conference calls

  5. Technology
    1. Identification and education of latest technology impacts to our industry
    2. Identification and involvement of SME’s within our chapter to serve on various task forces or planning sessions
    3. Establishing communications and partnerships with stakeholders and vendors on a regular basis to resolve critical issues
    4. Communicating and educating the membership of current concerns as it relates to technology enhancements
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APCO Seeks Reclassification of Public Safety Telecommunicators as "Protective" Occupations

Thank you to the many members who responded to our Call to Action and submitted formal comments urging the federal government to reclassify Public Safety Telecommunicators as "Protective" occupations.  However, we still need your help!  We need our members, your colleagues and supporters to continue to file personalized comments that include specific examples that highlight how public safety telecommunicators protect and save the lives of the general public and responders here.  Additionally, we are asking members to contact elected officials in Congress.

To take action, go to https://www.apcointl.org/take-action-2

Step 1 - simply follow the link above, click Ask Congress to Join the Fight and send a signed letter that will be sent to your representative.

Step 2 – click Take Action on the SOC Revision and add your personal story as a Public Safety Telecommunicator to APCOs opening paragraph and submit to the SOC. 

Step 3 – like our Facebook Page and follow us on Twitter for updates

Step 4 – share with your friends and family

Formal comments were due by September 20, 2016.

For more information visit the APCO Government Relations Page https://www.apcointl.org/advocacy.html

On behalf of the VA APCO Board,

Nicola Tidey, VA APCO President

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Chapter Publishes August Newsletter

There's a lot going on in your Chapter.  For a quarterly wrap-up of news and interesting feature stories, we encourage you to read the Chapter's August Newsletter.

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DCJS Invites Comment on Dispatcher Training Standards

The Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) recently just updated their Town Hall in regards to the Regulations affecting the Rules Relating to Compulsory Minimum Training Standards for Dispatchers (6 VAC 20-60).  DCJS has created draft regulatory language and this review was open until July 27, 2016, for public comment.  One of the most important areas of change being proposed is developing in-service requirements for agencies whose duties include dispatching law enforcement personnel.  The Virginia APCO Board has filed the following comments with DCJS:

  • “Virginia APCO is advocating for required training hours that are both reasonable in number and achievable by small and large agencies and departments alike. In-service training should be offered and allowed by sanctioned satellite DCJS Academies, as well as available online, thus meeting the professional need while limiting travel and cost, though some justified cost is always part of a new undertaking.
  • Virginia APCO is advocating that Public Safety Communications Officers receive no less than 16 hours of Continuing Education Hours (In-service) in a 24 month period.  At least 2 hours should be specific to legal training and 2 hours should focus on cultural diversity. 
  • The knowledge of this industry is ever-changing to keep up with technology and community requirements. The applications used and protocols applied as a result are constantly challenging the professional to keep up to support the public safety response.
  • New and current technologies are changing the face of public safety communications and will challenge telecommunicators to think and operate in new and complex ways to synthesize and manage multiple streams of incoming and outgoing information.
  • Whether a new dispatcher or a seasoned professional, complacency can create the worst outcomes. Refreshing the basics is as critical in this profession as any other within public safety. 
  • Complacency has proven to have devastating consequences, many of which make the front page of the national news.
  • In-service/ongoing training can be completed in-house, thereby minimizing the cost to the agency. Reduced travel keeps telecommunicators in their home agencies and ready to work.
  • The APCO ANSI standard requires continuing education, most of which is not cost prohibitive (e.g. read professional publications, utilize developed review articles with associated quizzes, reviewing in-house policies, procedures, and protocols, etc.).”

View the Regulatory Documents              

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Virginia Beach ECCS Receives Training Program Certification

Virginia Beach Emergency Communications and Citizen Services (ECCS) has met the minimum training standards for the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International Agency Training Program Certification and has been awarded certification as of June 17, 2016. Public safety agencies utilize the APCO International Agency Training Program Certification as a formal mechanism to ensure their training programs meet APCO American National Standards (ANS). Initial and continuing training for public safety telecommunicators is important as they provide essential services to the public in an expanding and rapidly changing environment.

"America's public safety communications agencies represent the first tier of emergency response," said APCO International President Brent Lee. "Ensuring that training programs and procedures are current, comprehensive, and effective is a key element to success in this role. Achieving APCO Agency Training Program Certification is proof of an agency's commitment to excellence and of their dedication to the communities they serve." Virginia Beach ECCS was recognized during the Food for Thought Luncheon at APCO's 82nd Annual Conference & Expo, in Orlando, Fla., August 14-17, 2016. For more information about the Agency Training Program Certification process, visit www.apcointl.org/p33/ for details.
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Chapter Announces Telecommunicator Awards at Spring Conference
2015 recipients were recognized and received their awards on Thursday, May 5, 2016, in Virginia Beach during the 2016 Virginia NENA-APCO Spring Conference.
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Outstanding Individual Performance In A Critical Incident

Megan Nixon
Hanover County Public Safety Emergency Communications

Outstanding Team Performance In A Critical Incident
Virginia State Police, Division VI (Salem)
Dispatch Supervisor Robert Jones, Senior Dispatcher Kenneth Hogan, Dispatchers Jami Hicks, Jessica Bocock, Brittany Nelson, and Jeremy Wimmer

Nicholas Stepaniak Communications Trainer of the Year
Mary Bowman
Chesterfield County Emergency Communications

Line Supervisor of the Year
Stacey Adams
Hanover County Public Safety Emergency Communications

Communications Center Director of the Year
Jeff Flournoy
Eastern Shore of Virginia 9 1 1 Communications

Information Technologist/Radio Frequency Technologist Of The Year
Steve McMurrer
Fairfax County Public Safety Communications

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Troshak Recognized as Chapter Life Member
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Rich Troshak was recognized and awarded a Chapter Life Member plaque during the awards ceremony at Virginia NENA-APCO Spring Conference on May 5, 2016, at the Sheraton Virginia Beach Oceanfront Hotel. Troshak is the Director of Emergency Communications for Chesterfield County. Prior to this position, he was the Project Manager for the Department of Homeland Security/Federal Protective Services Philadelphia MegaCenter, which provides dispatch services to federal facilities in 14 states.
Previously he was also a PSAP Director for Ottawa County, Michigan and Kansas City, Kansas. Rich started his career as a Dispatcher for Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Rich is a past-president of the Michigan Chapter of APCO and specializes in teaching courses on leadership, suicide intervention, stress management, and critical incidents. Rich has also been a speaker at six APCO International Conferences, and numerous state public safety conferences. He was awarded Virginia Chapter Life membership in 2015.
Presentations made by Niki Tidey.
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Chapter Implements Policy Manual and Bylaws Amendments
At its Chapter Meeting on Friday, May 6, 2016, at the Sheraton Virginia Beach Oceanfront Hotel, the membership adopted bylaws amendments and took action endorsing the implementation of a Chapter Policy Manual. The Virginia APCO Board has developed an APCO Policy Manual to define policies, practices, and procedures essential to the Virginia Chapter. It is designed to work in tandem with the chapter Bylaws. In addition to capturing and defining various Chapter policies and procedures, procedural information from the Bylaws was extracted and placed into the Policy Manual.  Under provisions of the revised Bylaws and new Policy Manual, the Chapter will be moving forward with electronic balloting for officers and directors.

 

The updated version of the Bylaws is now available under the Organization menu.  The Board and the Resolutions and Bylaws Committee will update and finalize the Policy Manual soon; a provisional copy is also now available via the Organization menu.  Please feel free to reach out to any board member with any questions, comments, and/or suggestions for policy changes or clarifications.
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APCO Continues to Monitor Progress on Updating the Standard Occupational Classification

The Standard Occupational Classification (SOC), which is the federal government's statistical system for occupations, currently identifies 9-1-1 professionals as "Police, Fire, and Ambulance Dispatchers" and classifies them in the "Office and Administrative Support Occupations" category, along with office clerks and secretaries. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is working with other federal agencies like the Department of Labor (DoL) to revise the SOC through a formal administrative process. As part of this process, APCO submitted comments in November 2014 suggesting two changes: (1) Use the title, "Public Safety Telecommunicators" (instead of "dispatchers"), and (2) Classify them as a "protective" occupation, in the same category as police officers and firefighters (instead of in the administrative/clerical category). The next step will be a public notice published by the OMB that describes the changes under consideration. The public notice was originally scheduled for Spring 2015 but has been delayed. APCO has been in regular contact with the OMB and DoL staff who are working on the revision and stands ready to respond as soon as the process moves forward. Stay tuned for further updates on this important issue.
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Executive Council Communique
Chapter Executive Council Delegate Bill Agee shares the October 2016 edition of APCO International's Executive Council Communique. Please direct any questions to Bill Agee.
Previous Issues - Visit Minutes & Executive Council Reports
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Visit Virginia Chapter of APCO via Social Media
The Virginia Chapter of APCO International (VA-APCO) has launched its social media campaign using tools such as Facebook and Twitter. The Chapter wants to use avenues to promote the message of 9-1-1 and aid in the recruitment of members to the Chapter to support its vision. We are excited to start using social media; this will be a great way to keep in touch with our members as well as citizens across the Commonwealth, stated Athena Plummer, VA-APCO president.

People can begin to follow VA-APCO on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/vaapco/
and also follow our Twitter Feed at https://twitter.com/VAAPCO
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