(FRANKFORT, Ky.) - Nine Kentucky State Police telecommunicators from throughout the commonwealth were recognized Friday May 16, 2014 at graduation ceremonies for the fourth class of the agency’s in-house telecommunications academy.
Graduates of the Kentucky State Police Telecommunications Academy Class #4 include (left to right), Jesse Dillon, Post 8-Morehead; Brittany Turner, Post 6-Dry Ridge; Daniel Castle, Post 7-Richmond; Jessica Melton, Post 6-Dry Ridge; Johnny Meade, Post 9-Pikeville; Debra Metcalf, Post 14-Ashland; Michael Tester, Post 15-Columbia; Michael Burling, Post 8-Morehead and Scott Gibbs, Post 16-Henderson.
“Across the state, KSP telecommunicators provide a lifeline to both citizens in need and officers in the field,” says KSP Commissioner Rodney Brewer. “They serve as an unseen, but vital link in keeping law enforcement officers and the public safe at all times of the day or night.”
Representing seven agency posts, the group began its studies on April 14, 2014 at the KSP Training Academy in Frankfort. The course provided 196 hours of instruction during a five-week period. The curriculum included subjects such as legal liability and limits of telecommunicator authority, the telecommunicator’s role in public safety, interpersonal communications, customer service, interaction with the news media, stress, ethics and confidentiality, responder safety, basic fire dispatch, state emergency operations plans and criminal justice information systems, cardio pulmonary resuscitation, first aid training, emergency medical dispatch and special needs callers.
The final week of the academy included training on computer-aided dispatch and other databases. To complete the course, the telecommunicators were required to successfully process scripted calls for service and demonstrate proficiency in obtaining pertinent information, dispatching responders, providing emergency medical dispatch if needed and correctly documenting information from the call for service.
The graduates of the fourth KSP Telecommunications Academy included:
Brittany Turner, of Crittenden, KSP Post 6-Dry Ridge
Jessica Melton, of Williamstown, KSP Post 6-Dry Ridge
Daniel Castle, of Richmond, KSP Post 7- Richmond
Charles Jesse Dillon, of Vanceburg, Post 8-Morehead Michael Burling, of West Liberty, Post 8-Morehead
Johnny Philip Meade, III, of Pikeville, Post 9, Pikeville
Debbie Metcalf, of Grayson, Post 14, Ashland
Mike Tester, II, of Columbia, Post 15, Columbia
Scott Gibbs, of Evansville, Ind., Post 16, Henderson
Jessica Melton of Post 6 in Dry Ridge was the class valedictorian with an overall grade point average of 98.6.
According to Charlotte Tanner, training coordinator for Kentucky State Police telecommunicators, working in today’s emergency services communications center requires a number of qualities and characteristics that are absolutely imperative including:
●the ability to handle very stressful, challenging conditions.
●flexible work schedules
●empathy in dealing with others
●the ability to learn and adapt, especially in areas of technology
Her advice to those who may be considering the field as a career? “You need to think hard about whether you are willing to make the sacrifices you have to make. You have to spend time away from your family. You have to work weekends and holidays. With all the continuing training required, there is a big investment of time and you need to be sure you can make the commitment.”
“To be honest, it’s not a job for everyone,” concludes Tanner. “It is stressful and challenging and some people simple can’t deal with the types of calls and the types of deadly incidents that we have to handle.”