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SOC Revision

Reclassification of 9-1-1 Professionals

9-1-1 Professionals Should Be Recognized as “Protective” Occupations

  • APCO is seeking to update how 9-1-1 professionals are categorized in the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC). The SOC is a catalog of all occupations in the U.S. that is used by federal agencies for statistical purposes only.  It is managed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).  9-1-1 professionals are currently classified as clerical/office support occupations in the SOC.
  • APCO’s straight-forward ask: Classify 9-1-1 professionals in the SOC major group for “Protective Service Occupations.”
    • The “Protective Service” category includes playground monitors, meter maids, casino gaming surveillance officers, crossing guards, TSA screeners, and many other occupations.
    • 9-1-1 professionals should be classified as “Protective” because they protect and save lives, for example by coaching 9-1-1 callers through CPR instructions and other life-saving measures.  Public Safety Telecommunicators protect the public and help keep first responders safe.
    • This suggestion is uniformly endorsed by the 9-1-1 community and has bicameral and bipartisan support from Congress.

What Would Be the Effect of Changing the SOC?

  • Reclassification is about appropriately recognizing 9-1-1 professionals for the work they do every day to protect and save the lives of the public and first responders.
  • OMB states that the SOC is used solely for statistical purposes. Therefore, this change would have no direct cost impact on federal, state, or local governments.

OMB Staff Are Not Understanding 9-1-1 or Following a Fair Process

  • OMB states that occupations are to be classified by the work performed.  9-1-1 professionals provide life-saving instructions (ex – talking a caller through CPR) and detect potential threats to protect first responders (ex – hearing a shotgun racked in the background and identifying a trap for police). Thus, based on the work they perform, they belong in the “Protective Service” group.
    • Many of the occupations in the Protective Service category, if faced with an emergency, would call 9-1-1 and depend on 9-1-1 professionals.
  • OMB’s rationale seems to be that, because 9-1-1 professionals usually operate in a communications center, they don’t belong in the Protective Service category.  But the Protective Service category includes Gaming Surveillance Officers, who sit in a safe room and monitor video feeds to detect cheaters, etc.  Furthermore, many public safety agencies send 9-1-1 professionals into the field for major operations such as SWAT call-outs and disaster response.  It also appears that OMB staff largely based its decision on a comparison to first responders despite the fact that the majority of Protective Service Occupations actually are not first responders.

Attention at Higher Levels is Needed

  • The importance of 9-1-1 professionals to the safety and security of the American public and the nation’s first responders is obvious, and recognition of this role would be consistent with the President’s appreciation and support for public safety.
  • The 9-1-1 community deserves this recognition and would be very appreciative of any champions.

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