Category: Press Release

Press Release: Regional Telecommunicator Academy Graduates Class #012

Press Release: Regional Telecommunicator Academy Graduates Class #012

ARLINGTON, Texas, March 4, 2022 — The North Central Texas Emergency Communications District (NCT9-1-1) will graduate 18 9-1-1 telecommunicators from its Regional Telecommunicator Academy (RTA) Class #012 on March 4 in Arlington. This class includes recruits from 7 different agencies, including Terrell PD, Wise Co SO, Greenville PD, Waxahachie PD, Ellis Co SO, Collin Co SO, among others.

 

The graduating recruits will have completed a rigorous four-week program that teaches equipment use, state mandates and regulations, how to handle emergency communications situations such as active shootings, and more. Texas is the only state in the country that requires its telecommunicators to be licensed alongside peace officers and jailers, and NCT9-1-1 hosts the only 9-1-1 telecommunicator academy in the state. The district welcomes recruits from outside its region to participate and this year includes participants from Irving PD.

 

“At the academy, we’re not just training people to fill positions,” said NCT9-1-1 Training Coordinator Bret Batchelor. “We’re building a community of resiliency and comradery with our recruits. I want them to walk away with the skills to not only be successful at their new jobs, but to build a lifelong career as a 9-1-1 telecommunicator and to one day pass on their experiences to the next generation of dispatchers.” 

 

The program has graduated recruits from all over Texas and Arkansas since its inception in February of 2016 and continues to grow with classes held twice a year in the winter and summer.    

       

About the North Central Texas Emergency Communications District

The North Central Texas Emergency Communications District (NCT9-1-1) is responsible for 40 plus Emergency Communication Centers (ECCs) in the 13 counties surrounding the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The district supports these ECCs through maintaining and upgrading 9-1-1 equipment, providing up-to-date mapping information, training 9-1-1 telecommunicators, educating the public on the proper use of 9-1-1, and monitoring ECC functionality and compliances. NCT9-1-1 serves a population of 1.7 million and 10,000+ square miles.

Press Release: North Central Texas 9-1-1 Provides Hurricane Relief to Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office

Press Release: North Central Texas 9-1-1 Provides Hurricane Relief to Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office

ARLINGTON, Texas, September 2 – The North Central Texas Emergency Communications District (NCT9-1-1), which serves as the headquarters for the Texas Telecommunicator Emergency Response Taskforce (TERT) state program, deployed two 9-1-1 telecommunicators today to the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana for 14 days. The relief comes after the devastating effects of Hurricane Ida strained the parish’s resources and caused catastrophic damage to the community, according to their Facebook page. The deployed TERT members are licensed 9-1-1 telecommunicators employed by the Bedford Police Department and NCT9-1-1.

TERT members will work onsite at the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) and assist with the duties of 9-1-1 call takers and radio dispatchers. This provides relief to Lafourche telecommunicators who will have the opportunity to visit and assess the damage to their homes, check in on loved ones, and mentally recover from hurricane response efforts. 9-1-1 telecommunicators often work around the clock during disasters, sometimes living at their PSAPs for multiple days, and TERT programs around the country are utilized to support these agencies.

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TERT member Michael Martin of the Bedford Police Department, Texas TERT State Coordinator Jason Smith, and TERT member Brittney Burross of NCT9-1-1.

“TERT is who 9-1-1 calls when 9-1-1 needs help,” said Texas TERT State Coordinator Jason Smith. “State programs exist all over the country to provide support due to wildfires, hurricanes, or other disasters. 9-1-1 is often the first piece of critical infrastructure brought back after an incident, and the stress 9-1-1 telecommunicators experience as the first point of contact in their community’s recovery is significant. TERT provides necessary support to an unseen part of disaster response.”

Texas TERT is part of the first deployment phase and is partnering with eight members of Florida TERT to provide a total of ten 9-1-1 telecommunicators to support the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office. If a second phase is needed, TERT members from the Tennessee and Georgia state programs will be sent. Texas TERT was established in 2007 and has responded to disasters such as Hurricane Harvey, Ike, and assisted during Hurricane Isaac.

 

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About the North Central Texas Emergency Communications District (NCT9-1-1)

The North Central Texas Emergency Communications District (NCT9-1-1) is responsible for 40 plus Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) in the 13 counties surrounding the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The district supports these PSAPs through maintaining and upgrading 9-1-1 equipment, providing up-to-date mapping information, training 9-1-1 telecommunicators, educating the public on the proper use of 9-1-1, and monitoring PSAP functionality and compliances. NCT9-1-1 serves a population of 1.7 million and 10,000+ square miles.

 

The Only 9-1-1 Academy in Texas Will Graduate 13 New Telecommunicators During North Texas 9-1-1 Staffing Shortages

The Only 9-1-1 Academy in Texas Will Graduate 13 New Telecommunicators During North Texas 9-1-1 Staffing Shortages

ARLINGTON, TX, August, 3, 2021 — The North Central Texas Emergency Communications District (NCT9-1-1) will graduate 13 new 9-1-1 telecommunicators from the Regional Telecommunicator Training Academy on August 6 in a virtual ceremony. These recruits join the industry during a significant staffing shortage of 9-1-1 telecommunicators in North Texas. The recruits of class #011 represent agencies from across the region including the Balch Springs Police Department, Collin County Sheriff’s Office, Seagoville Police Department, and more.

The graduates completed a rigorous four-week program that taught 9-1-1 equipment use, state mandates and regulations, as well as how to handle crisis communications such as active shooters. They will graduate after taking the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) State Licensing Exam. Texas is the only state in the country that requires its 9-1-1 telecommunicators to be licensed in the same line as peace officers and jailers and was the first state to reclassify them from administrative professionals to first responders.

“They’re joining the industry during unprecedented times,” said NCT9-1-1 Training Coordinator Bret Batchelor. “The pandemic has changed a lot, and they’ll have to adapt quickly as it continues to affect the day-to-day roles of first responders. The chances of burn out only increase when working in that kind of high-stakes environment. But I have confidence that they all have what it takes to excel at this career.”

The academy has graduated recruits from across Texas and Arkansas since its inception in February 2016 and continues to grow with classes held twice a year in the winter and summer.

Class Photo of RTA #011
Class photo of Regional Telecommunicator Academy Class #011

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About the North Central Texas Emergency Communications District (NCT9-1-1)

The North Central Texas Emergency Communications District (NCT9-1-1) is responsible for 40 plus Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) in the 13 counties surrounding the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The district supports these PSAPs through maintaining and upgrading 9-1-1 equipment, providing up-to-date mapping information, training 9-1-1 telecommunicators, educating the public on the proper use of 9-1-1, and monitoring PSAP functionality and compliances. NCT9-1-1 serves a population of 1.7 million and 10,000+ square miles.

 

From the Flintstones to the Jetsons

From the Flintstones to the Jetsons

I wrote an article very early in my tenure at NCT9-1-1 with this same title. I was trying to demonstrate that 9-1-1 was making great strides in using technology to improve services. Painting a picture that we were used to using our feet to drive our cars but were excited about the changes to flying spaceships was indicative of what those early changes felt like.  

In 2003, digital mapping was introduced in the North Central Texas 9-1-1 region. For years, I had colored pencils in my desk and would use any spare time to color paper maps for the PSAP walls. Now we had maps that showed up on the telecommunicators’ workstations so they could see the growing wireless calls populate (approximately) on the map as well as the fixed structures associated with physical addressing. The maps weren’t used much then. Now about 90% of our call volume region wide is wireless, and we could not be effective without the digital mapping.  

While national organizations have been talking about Next Generation 9-1-1 since 2001, NCT9-1-1 began our journey to NG9-1-1 in 2007 with NG planning. Shortly after in 2008, we implemented our first ESInet and IP-capable Call Handling Equipment (CHE) as our first step of many in our NG transition plan. It was the transition from over 40 stand-alone 9-1-1 systems to one comprehensive regional 9-1-1 system that connected all those PSAPs. It was a big first step, but only the beginning of a phased approach based on available funding and technology. We were on our way! 

2013 text-to-9-1-1 was implemented in the North Central Texas region. We were the first to introduce this service in Texas and the fifth in the nation. We were actually asked to implement in 2012 by a wireless carrier. Although we had the technology researched and in place by this time, it was vital to us to ensure we had a public education plan, a telecommunicator training plan, and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) as well. We wanted the big picture addressed prior to implementation so we waited for the operational elements and developed these standards and plans with feedback from our telecommunicators and supervisors as well as counterparts throughout the nation. They became a model that many people around the country later adopted. The motto was “9-1-1: Call when you can and text when you can’t.”  

There were some frustrating years when Dominos could find you but 9-1-1 could not. With the high wireless call volume, precise location was key to positive outcomes with response. However, our location technology was providing only approximate locations. In other words, our best was not enough. In 2018, North Central Texas 9-1-1 was one of the first to get device-based supplemental location, which is much more accurate than the previous method of network triangulation. It was such a victory to have better location to help save lives! 

In 2019, Texas reclassified telecommunicators as first responders through HB 1090. There was a time when 9-1-1 dispatchers and call takers were considered receptionists, but those days are long gone. With all the new technology and tools and the stress that goes along with being the first contact in the worst day of someone’s life and coordinating life-saving responses while keeping our field responders safe has elevated the position of telecommunicator to first responder – well deserved! 

There have been far too many technological advancements in NCT9-1-1 for me to list in this article, all of which have been baby steps in our journey to have the best 9-1-1 system available. This is a journey without a destination, but instead a commitment to continued improvement and constant change. We might be the Jetsons today with our current technology, compared to what we had 30 years ago. But who knows what tomorrow will hold? We will continue to go where no man has gone before as we forge the future of 9-1-1.