WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), co-chair of the Senate Next Generation 9-1-1 Caucus, and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) introduced a bipartisan, bicameral resolution recognizing National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. This resolution honors the important and lifesaving contributions of 9-1-1 operators and public safety telecommunications professionals across our country. Representatives Norma Torres (D-CA) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) introduced a companion resolution in the House of Representatives.
“Every day, public safety telecommunicators respond to emergencies and save lives across my state of Minnesota and throughout the country,” said Klobuchar. “This bipartisan resolution honors the critical contributions of public safety officers and first responders who work around the clock to keep our communities safe.”
“When the American people need help, we rely on telecommunications professionals like 9-1-1 dispatchers,” said Tuberville. “Their professionalism and their spirit of public service save lives every day in this country. This week, I join with millions of Americans in saying ‘thank you’ to each one of them. We are thankful that they give us safety and peace of mind.”
As a member of the Senate Commerce Committee and co-chair of the Congressional Next Generation 9-1-1 Caucus, Klobuchar has been a leader in pushing to expand and improve emergency communications infrastructure. In September 2021, Klobuchar and Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) introduced legislation to accelerate federal efforts to modernize the nation’s 9-1-1 systems. This funding will help ensure that states and local governments can deploy next generation 9-1-1 systems across the country.
In April 2021, Klobuchar and former Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) reintroduced the 9-1-1 Saves Act to update the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) to better reflect the life-saving work 9-1-1 telecommunicators and dispatchers perform each day. Currently, the SOC—a tool used by federal agencies to classify the workforce into useful, occupational categories—categorizes 9-1-1 call takers and dispatchers as “Office and Administrative Support Occupations,” which also includes secretaries, office clerks, and taxi cab dispatchers.
Full text of the resolution is available HERE and below:
Whereas public safety telecommunications professionals play a critical role in emergency response;
Whereas the work that public safety telecommunications professionals perform goes far beyond simply relaying information between the public and first responders;
Whereas, when responding to reports of missing, abducted, and sexually exploited children, the information obtained and actions taken by public safety telecommunications professionals form the foundation for an effective response;
Whereas, when a hostage taker or suicidal individual calls 911, the first contact that individual has is with a public safety telecommunications professional, whose negotiation skills can prevent the situation from worsening;
Whereas, during crises, public safety telecommunications professionals, while collecting vital information to provide situational awareness for responding officers—
(1) coach callers through first aid techniques; and
(2) give advice to those callers to prevent further harm;
Whereas the work done by individuals who serve as public safety telecommunications professionals has an extreme emotional and physical toll on those individuals, which is compounded by long hours and the around-the-clock nature of the job;
Whereas public safety telecommunications professionals should be recognized by all levels of government for the lifesaving and protective nature of their work;
Whereas major emergencies, including natural disasters and the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID–19) pandemic, highlight the dedication of public safety telecommunications professionals and their important work in protecting the public and police, fire, and emergency medical officials; and
Whereas public safety telecommunications professionals are often called as witnesses to provide important testimony in criminal trials: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate—
(1) supports the goals and ideals of National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week;
(2) honors and recognizes the important and lifesaving contributions of public safety telecommunications professionals in the United States; and
(3) encourages the people of the United States to remember the value of the work performed by public safety telecommunications professionals.