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President’s Channel: Stepping Into the Role of Presidency: Thank You APCO Members!

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  • President’s Channel: Stepping Into the Role of Presidency: Thank You APCO Members!

    As I step into the role of APCO International President, I feel extremely honored at the chance to serve the membership of this great association. I would like to start my term by thanking all our members for this opportunity, and for the work that each of you has done throughout the challenges of 2020.

    Since last year’s conference, we have seen challenges unlike any other year. While many people were forced to stay home, those of us in the ECC, as essential workers, continued to work to serve our communities, while also dealing with the same concerns and stressors everyone else was experiencing. Regardless of the position within public safety telecommunications, human resources, finance, information technology, management, data analysis, telecommuncations specialist, or any other role within the center, you were impacted both professionally and personally. As is the habit of those of us in an ECC, you continue to take care of everyone else through times like no other in our lifetimes. My hope is that you are taking time to care for yourselves as well. All too often, our own wellness is pushed aside while we care for total strangers.

    Because of this, I am sharing with you the creation of a new APCO committee designed to expand our focus on wellness in the ECC.

    In 2018, under the leadership of APCO President Holly Wayt, the ECC Crisis Response Task Force was established to create a best practices resource to guide ECC’s responses during, and after a prolonged, or large-scale emergency event.

    With Jay Somerville as the Chair and Maureen Will as Vice Chair, the mission of this task force was to create a structure to assist ECC leaders with preparation for high impact, prolonged, or large-scale emergency events that place a significant strain on staff members. Within this document, you will see a quote highlighted stating “taking care of those who staff our ECCs so they can take care of our communities is paramount.”

    Today, we are announcing the creation of the APCO Health and Wellness Committee, chaired by Captain Jeremy Hill. This committee will take the philosophy of caring for our ECC personnel to the next level, providing the best tools to support the people working in centers across the nation every minute of every day. I am confident this committee will offer new insights and options to improve health and wellness in the ECC.

    In addition to this effort, we are adding a task force to look at opportunities to partner with our veterans and military spouses. A recent survey found that a quarter of military spouses are unemployed, and a 2018 White House report stated that military spouses are unemployed at 2-3 times the rate of the overall U.S. population.

    We recognize that ECC’s struggle with recruitment and retention. Knowing this, and the sacrifices military families make, this new task force will work to identify and evaluate options to align ECC staffing shortages with unemployed military spouses. This may provide solutions to some of our ECC staffing problems, while offering support to our military families.

    Along with these efforts, your APCO leadership team is committed to continuing to provide complete public safety expertise, professional development, technical assistance, advocacy and outreach, alongside the pursuit of the reclassification of our public safety telecommunicators as Protective Service Occupations.

    In this association, none of us leads alone. The Executive Committee, the Board of Directors, APCO staff, the Executive Council Members, chapter presidents, group leaders, committee chairs and the entire membership of APCO, all lead this association together. It is with all of your help that I look forward to taking on the challenges this next year may bring.

    Thank you for allowing me this opportunity, and thank you for your commitment to public safety communications.