Six-week course includes instruction on public safety, stress and ethics
(FRANKFORT, Ky.) - Eleven Kentucky State Police telecommunicators from throughout the Commonwealth were recently recognized at graduation ceremonies for the eighth class of the agency's in-house Telecommunications Academy.
The Kentucky State Police Telecommunication Academy Class No. 8
graduated on May 13th 2016. They include (left to right) Kristy Kabakoff, Post 7,
Richmond; Brandon Crews, Post 1, Mayfield; Tonya White, Post 3, Bowling Green; Brody
Keck, Post 7, Richmond; Amanda Coles, Post 1, Mayfield; Ryan Barker, Post 3, Bowling
Green; Victoria Smith, Post 12, Frankfort; Penny McDowell, Post 4, Elizabethtown;
Michelle Nunn, Post 16, Henderson; Cara Littrell, Post 16, Henderson and Julie
McDonald, Post 15, Columbia.
KSP Deputy Commissioner Alex Payne congratulated the graduates and praised their efforts. "My first summer job was a dispatcher so my first view of law enforcement was through a dispatcher's eyes," he said.
"I saw the bond that develops between officers and their dispatchers. You are our direct link for help," he told them. "You are our lifeline and we are a team."
"You are also the first connection to the best customer service agency in the country-the Kentucky State Police," he reminded them. You represent us all and in doing so, you will define your career of service to the citizens of the Commonwealth."
Representing seven agency posts, the group began its studies on April 4, 2016 at the KSP Training Academy in Frankfort. The course provided 236 hours of instruction during a six-week period. The curriculum included subjects such as: legal liability, 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, 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. This training is completed using a computer simulation system to mimic their working environment in the radio room.
The graduates of the eighth KSP Telecommunications Academy include:
* Amanda Coles, Post 1, Mayfield
* Brandon Crews, Post 1, Mayfield
* Ryan Barker, Post 3, Bowling Green
* Tonya White, Post 3, Bowling Green
* Penny McDowell, Post 4, Elizabethtown
* Brody Keck, Post 7, Richmond
* Kristy Kabakoff, Post 7, Richmond
* Victoria Smith, Post 12, Frankfort
* Julie McDonald, Post 15, Columbia
* Cara Littrell, Post 16, Henderson
* Michelle Nunn, Post 16, Henderson
Brandon Crews of Post 1 in Mayfield was the class valedictorian with an overall grade point average of 96.2 percent.
According to Jason Long, Law Enforcement Training Instructor at the Kentucky State Police Academy, 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.
His 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," Long says. "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," he says. "It is stressful and challenging and some people simply can't deal with the types of calls and deadly incidents that we have to handle."