Bill to Reclassify 9-1-1 Telecommunicators Passes House as Part of NDAA
Monday, July 15, 2019 | Comments

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill that would change the federal classification of 9-1-1 professionals July 12.

The 911 Supporting Accurate Views of Emergency Services Act (911 Saves Act) sponsored by Reps. Norma Torres and Brian Fitzpatrick would direct the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to reclassify 9-1-1 telecommunicators and dispatchers in the federal government’s Standard Occupation Classification (SOC) System.

The bill was included as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2020, which passed the House with a vote of 220-198. The bill will now move to the Senate for consideration.

Torres, who used to be a 9-1-1 professional, said on Twitter that she was pleased with the bill’s inclusion into the NDAA and the subsequent passage of the bill in the house.

“It’s an important first step to give the nation’s 100,000 public-safety telecommunicators their due and reclassify them as ‘protective service occupations,’ ” Torres tweeted.

The OMB currently classifies 9-1-1 dispatchers and call-takers as office and administrative support occupations. OMB declined to change the classification of those workers in 2017 and since then, public-safety organizations such as the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) and the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International have pushed for legislators to change the classification.

In a statement, APCO praised the inclusion of the 911 Saves Act in the NDAA but cautioned that the bill’s future is still uncertain.

“While a welcome development, the process forward for the NDAA is complex and uncertain,” the statement said. “It will require reconciliation with the Senate version, and the NDAA has many defense-related provisions in dispute.”

APCO said it would continue to support efforts to keep the act as part of the NDAA as it moves through the process, as well as efforts to pass the 911 Saves Act through the House and Senate as separate legislation from the NDAA.

NENA praised its members for the work they’ve done in contacting legislators to about reclassifying 9-1-1 professionals. The organization said 12,500 of its members have contacted legislators a total of 40,000 times about the issue.

“On behalf of more than 100,000 9-1-1 professionals across the nation, NENA: The 9-1-1 Association thanks Reps. Torres and every member of Congress who supported this important measure,” said NENA CEO Brian Fontes. “Our members have long advocated for an accurate statistical classification for 9-1-1 professionals to support critical research into the mental and physical impacts of 9-1-1 jobs. Now, the action moves to the U.S. Senate, where we hope all members will support this non-partisan, cost-free measure that reflects the respect and support the American public has for its 9-1-1 professionals, who answer more than 240 million calls for help every year.”

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Comments
On 7/17/19, John Davis said:
I would hope that this bill would include all telecommunicators. Some of us work for public-safety agencies that are not 9-1-1 public-safety answering points (PSAPs); for example, college university police departments.

On 7/16/19, Ofelia Robles said:
I am all in for this new reclassification; it is long past due. Thank you to Reps. Norma Torres and Brian Fitzpatrick for fighting a good cause.

Thanks Again

Ofelia Robles
Communications Operator
Anaheim Police Department
O 714 765-1975
425 S. Harbor Blvd.
Anaheim CA 92805

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