Legislation reclassifying 9-1-1 dispatchers from Office and Administrative Support to Protective Service Occupations was approved last week by the U.S. House of Representatives as an amendment in the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), according to lawmakers.
U.S. Reps. Norma J. Torres (D-CA) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) reintroduced the bill, the 9-1-1 SAVES Act, in April.
“As a former 9-1-1 dispatcher, I know first-hand the challenges that our public safety dispatchers are faced with and the extraordinary work that they do to help save lives,” Torres said in a Sept. 24 statement. “Dispatchers are the first line of response during an emergency, and they deserve to be classified in a way that recognizes that their work is on par with the work of other public servants classified as first responders. That is why I am so pleased to announce that the 9-1-1 SAVES Act to reclassify them as emergency personnel passed the House as part of the FY22 NDAA.”
The 9-1-1 SAVES Act is supported by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO), NENA: The 9-1-1 Association, and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees.
“The services provided by our 911 operators and dispatchers are integral to the safety of every community across America,” said Fitzpatrick, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent and federal prosecutor. “I thank Rep. Torres for her leadership in championing this crucial legislation that will give our public safety telecommunicators the recognition they rightfully deserve.”