Prior to beginning work in the 9-1-1 communications center, all new employees spend six weeks in an on-site Rookie School. The school is a combination of classroom work with hands-on training and homework, quizzes, tests, and a cumulative final exam. While in school, students receive all the certifications required to function as Emergency Communications Specialists with GM 9-1-1. The certifications obtained during this time include:
Emergency Telecommunicator (ETC) - 40-hour national certification course that teaches the basic fundamentals for a 9-1-1 telecommunicator.
Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) - 24-hour national certification course that teaches the protocols needed in order to process a medical call.
Emergency Fire Dispatch (EFD) - 24-hour national certification course that teaches the protocols needed in order to process a fire call.
ICS700 and ICS100 – Online courses required by Homeland Security for all public safety personnel.
Division of Criminal Information (DCI) – 12-hour state certification that allows telecommunicators to gain access to SBI and FBI criminal information files.
In addition to the required certification courses, students are taught classes in the following areas:
~ Officer safety
~ Geography – mapping and road study
~ Computer Aided Dispatch System (CAD)
~ Law Nature Codes
~ Communication center observations
There are also other classes taught as time permits, along with several field trips to areas such as airport and area fire departments, Greensboro jail facilities, area police departments, and EMS bases.
Communications Training Officer Program
Once students complete Rookie School, they are placed in the Emergency Communications Center with a certified Communications Training Officer (CTO). The students are with their CTO or a series of CTOs until they have completed Call Take phase and two disciplines. This portion of training can last up to a year and a half, depending on various factors. Our disciplines include LAW (Phases: Greensboro Police Department Dispatch, Greensboro Police Information Channel, and Sheriff’s Office Dispatch), Emergency Medical Service Dispatch (EMS), and Fire Dispatch (County Fire Department and Greensboro Fire Department).
CTOs instruct students at the same console for each phase until the CTOs feel comfortable with their students' performance. Students are then given more independence as their knowledge and comfort levels increase. CTOs are required to do a Daily Observation Report (DOR) on their students at the end of each working day or the beginning of the next. The DOR evaluates student performance in multiple categories. Once the students become acceptable in each category, they are given an assessment to determine what they have learned and to make sure that knowledge is enough to allow them to work alone.
Employees who decide to become CTOs must apply for the opportunity. Those chosen must then achieve initial certification as a “Communications Training Officer” through a course offered by the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO). The course will be taught by an in-house General Instructor, certified through the state of North Carolina. After the initial certification, the CTO maintains his or her aptitude by completing 12 hours each year of continuing dispatch education (CDE) hours provided by an in-house General Instructor, as well as completing monthly mandatory training and in-service required of all employees, which equals about 48 hours per year. Additional CDE hours and other employee training could bring the amount up to about 60 hours of training each year.
The position of CTO is one of the most important at Guilford Metro 9-1-1. These people are tasked to be mentors, role models, teachers, coaches, and evaluators. CTOs are held to a higher standard than any other employee as the success of our center is based on their ability to teach new employees to be efficient and effective in their new career.