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HR, Staffing & Retention

Public Safety Telecommunicators (PSTs) work closely with law enforcement, fire/rescue and emergency medical services every day, but they are not always afforded nor required to have a similar level of training, certification and benefits as their comrades in public safety. The vast majority of communications personnel in this country have to work 30 or more years to receive a full retirement benefit, yet the stress of the job routinely precludes employees from completing their career and achieving retirement. The first APCO Project RETAINS (Responsive Efforts To Address Integral Needs in Staffing) study estimated that  97% of public safety communications personnel WILL NOT work in the profession long enough to retire ... and it is also estimated that 97% of law enforcement and fire/rescue personnel WILL work long enough to retire.

APCO Project RETAINS was created to provide managers with tools and strategies to increase the effectiveness of their own management practices, thereby improving staffing, retention and employee satisfaction in public safety communications centers throughout the country. APCO Project RETAINS reports are available free to full APCO members.

The RETAINS Toolkit  includes three tools: staffing, retention and the employee satisfaction survey. In addition, the Toolkit can create a customized report detailing estimated staffing needs. The Toolkit also includes the dispatcher guidelines functions within the staffing tool. This capability will generate a report based upon information provided by the user and compare it to data collected in the RETAINS study. This tool is intended to help educate and be used as a starting point when considering dispatcher staffing levels and workload.

The Professional Communications Human Resources Taskforce was formed to gather information, study, and prepare reference materials of communications human resources and recognition issues from across the county. These include professional recognition, certification requirements and retirement eligibility, all of which allow APCO to be a resource for members while assisting directly with those issues that are national in scope. The committee created the ProCHRT Toolbox, an online resource for everyone from frontline telecommunicators to upper-level managers. Regularly updated, the toolbox provides resources on personnel and recognition, training/certification/standards, public education/media relations, health and wellness, legislative, and public safety communications in general.