By Laura Nicholes
TAC Legislative Staff
In an effort to set minimum standards in Texas for employment as a telecommunicator, also known as an emergency dispatcher, and to strengthen the certification and training requirements for the profession, House Bill 3832 was signed into law last legislative session with an effective date of Sept. 1, 2011.
The duties and responsibilities of the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education (TCLEOSE) are set forth in statute in the Occupations Code. Several sections were amended to include Section 1701.405(b), which provides that Texas or its political subdivisions may not employ a person as a telecommunicator unless the person:
(1) has had at least 40 hours of telecommunicator training as determined by the commission;
(2) is at least 18 years of age; and
(3) holds a high school diploma or high school equivalency certificate.
Occupations Code Section 1701.352 now mandates TCLEOSE to require 24 hours of training in crisis communications in addition to the 40 hours of basic telecommunication training, within the first year of employment if the hire date is on or after Sept. 1, 2011.
Also, Section 1701.312 adds telecommunicators to the list of employees who are disqualified from employment if they have certain criminal convictions (along with officers, county jailers and private security officers) and for whom the employer could be assessed a state jail felony criminal charge.
Texas 9-1-1 Trainers is now offering TCLEOSE approved crisis communication classes online