Florida Gov. Charlie Crist
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist Florida Gov. Charlie Crist
FEATURED IN PUBLIC SAFETY COMMUNICATIONS
On June 3, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist signed into law SB 742 Public Safety Telecommunications/E911. Among other things, it mandates minimum training standards for 9-1-1 telecommunicators in the state. The law includes dispatching as a function of E9-1-1 services and authorizes fees for certification and recertification collected by the Department of Health in authorized expenditures for E9-1-1 services. It also requires certain 9-1-1 public safety telecommunicators, sworn state-certified law enforcement officers or state-certified firefighters to pass an examination administered by the department.
In January, PSC reported that 18 states had no 9-1-1 training requirements at all ("Training Requirements for 9-1-1"). And in an interview for a Jan. 7& Today Show episode, APCO President Richard Mirgon called the lack of training requirements "a major public safety threat ... putting lives at risk every day."
Many people in Florida have worked hard to ensure the state is up to par with regard to training, and the passage of this law stands as a milestone achievement.
Part of the impetus behind SB 742 Public Safety Telecommunications/E911 was the death of Denise Amber Lee in North Port, Fla., following her abduction in January 2008. Despite the facts that the abduction was witnessed, four 9-1-1 calls were made to report the crime and one witness followed the suspect’s car for about 10 minutes, what have been called "inefficiencies in the call center" prevented police from locating the suspect or even being immediately dispatched. At one point, Denise herself was able to call 9-1-1 from the captor's cell phone.
Several days later, on the morning of Jan. 19, 2008, Denise's body was found.
In the wake of this event, the Denise Amber Lee Foundation was formed, and Denise's father, Detective Rick Goff, has since worked tirelessly to improve the state's 9-1-1 response system.
Check out the following sources for more information:
- The version of the law signed by the governor: Chapter No. 2010-188
- The timeline, sponsors and actions related to the bill
- The current curriculum framework that goes into effect July 1, 2010
- The Denise Amber Lee Foundation
- Local news coverage
Keri Losavio is the editor of Public Safety Communications. Contact her via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.