FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 27, 2017) — Ten Kentucky State Police telecommunicators from throughout the commonwealth were recognized today at graduation ceremonies for the eleventh class of the agency’s in-house Telecommunications Academy.
“Across the state, KSP telecommunicators provide a lifeline to both citizens in need and responders in the field,” said Lt. Col. Chad White, director of the agency’s Administrative Division. “They serve as an unseen, but vital link in keeping law enforcement officers, first responders and the public safe at all times of the day or night.”
Representing nine agency posts, the group began its studies on September 28th 2017 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 simulate their working environment in the radio room.
The graduates of the eleventh KSP Telecommunications Academy included:
- Shannah Lay, Post 2 Madisonville
- Catherine Carmon Barragan, Post 4 Elizabethtown
- Helen Shepherd, Post 7 Richmond
- Kelsey Cole, Post 7 Richmond
- Patricia Morgan Mooney, Post 8 Morehead
- Jacob Rich, Post 10 Harlan
- Zachery Tyler McCoy, Post 11 London
- Katie Christian, Post 12 Frankfort
- Miles Amburgey, Post 13 Hazard
- Kimberly Mays, Post 16 Henderson
Catherine Carmon Barragan of KSP Post 4 in Elizabethtown and Shannah Lay of KSP Post 2 in Madisonville shared class valedictorian honors with an overall grade point average of 99.4 percent each.
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. 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.”
KSP employs 184 telecommunicators at its 16 posts throughout the state. One-hundred-and-nine are female and 75 are male. In 2016, they handled 554,282 calls. Year-to-date 2017, they have handled 427,384 calls.
About 45 KSP troopers and officers started their careers as telecommunicators with the agency or other law enforcement organizations in the state.