Prince William County Communications Receives APCO Project 33 Certification
Hazel Colson, Accreditation Manager
Prince William County (VA) Public Safety Communications
Prince William County Public Safety Communications is committed to providing excellent service to the community we serve, its visitors, our customers, and our employees. It is a C size communications agency and has been CALEA Accredited since March 2003. The communications center is a component of the 2009 CALEA TRI-ARC award for Prince William County, Virginia, which includes the 1989 law enforcement accredited police department and the 2009 training academy accredited Prince William County Police Department, Criminal Justice Training Academy.
Prince William County is located in Northern Virginia, approximately 30 miles southwest of Washington, D.C. The agency is responsible for processing calls for service for over 420,465 citizens of Prince William County and its visitors. Additionally, we process fire and medical related calls for service for the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park.
The CEO of the communications center, Captain Ted S. McInteer, was pleased to announce recently that the Public Safety Communications Center has been awarded the APCO Project 33 Agency Training Program Certification. “This means that Public Safety Communications has been certified as meeting the APCO ANS 3.103.1-2010: Minimum Training Standards for Public Safety Telecommunicators and qualified to carry the “APCO Project 33 Certified” designation. We are one of eight PSAP’s in Virginia with this certification. This was an arduous task and took a great deal of time and effort to meet the strict training requirements of this certification. Phyllis Fullilove-Reid, Training and Development Supervisor and the Training and Development Staff, Jennifer Bradley, Training Coordinator, and Kesha Powell, Quality Assurance Specialist, are to be commended for their efforts in achieving this milestone.”
Building and implementing a successful agency training program requires many resources and a good deal of dedication. The APCO Project 33 Training Certification is a process for public safety agencies to certify their training programs as meeting APCO American National Standards (ANS). Centers apply for certification and submit their curriculum, training materials and supporting documentation for compliance review. This demonstrates the agency's commitment to training and to meeting national standards. Receiving certification for a training program is a major accomplishment for the agency, its staff, and the community it serves.
Public Safety Communications employees are often the first representatives of county government to assist citizens in need. Without leaving the communications center, we are usually the first public safety persons to "arrive" at the scene of a crime, fire, or medical emergency. Emergency medical care has a virtual "0" response time because call takers are trained to provide immediate medical care instructions over the telephone before response services arrive on the scene. With responsibilities such as this, any agency should want to make it a goal to attain a certification that represents the best practices in a training program. That is what motivated us to take advantage of the Project 33 program.
Our mission is to enhance the quality of life in Prince William County through the prompt, efficient and professional handling of calls for service and the dispatching of public safety services, thus making Prince William County a safer community in which to live, work, and visit. Being a nationally accredited public safety communications agency and a Project 33 certified agency is evidence that we focus on doing things the right way to accomplish our mission.