Executive Director Tyrell Morris of the Orleans Parish Communication District in New Orleans says the district has continued to meet national standards since 9-1-1 and 3-1-1 services were merged in January, even though response rates have gotten slower. Morris says he anticipates the agency will be fully staffed -- and able to respond to calls faster -- at 148 operations positions by the time the current training class and one set to begin soon are in place.
A peer support program for emergency responders in Eau Claire, Wis., is designed to ease the stress of traumatic events. "In order to take care of others and the community, we need to take care of ourselves," says Eau Claire Police Department Officer Bridget Coit.
Denver is working on a test program that would dispatch mental health professionals and medics to certain 9-1-1 calls instead of police, creating a less emotionally charged environment for those calls. The city plans to model its effort on the Crisis Assistance Helping Out on the Streets program in Eugene, Ore.
A law that recognizes 9-1-1 dispatchers as first responders was signed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and will be effective Sept. 1. The revised definition of a first responder under the law is "an emergency responder, operator or emergency services dispatcher, who provides communication support services."
A law allowing Florida paramedics who have met training requirements to carry guns when responding to high-risk calls will go into effect July 1. Kansas and Ohio already have laws permitting emergency responders to carry firearms.
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A project developed after the Columbine school shooting in 1999 unites stakeholders including schools, law enforcement, mental health resources and the court system to identify and intervene with students at high risk of violent behavior, Val Van Brocklin writes. Law enforcement officers involved in the Milestones Project manage risk by performing risk assessments of participants' schools, training first responders, conducting preventative threat assessments and making aftermath plans.