Emergency Communications Centers
Accreditation is a progressive and time-proven method of assisting
law enforcement agencies in measuring and improving their overall
performance. The foundation of accreditation lies in the adoption of
industry best-practice standards containing a clear statement of
professional objectives. These standards were carefully developed
by Arizona Emergency Communications professionals to assist in
the safe, effective, and efficient delivery of emergency
communications services to public safety operations. Participating
communications centers conduct a thorough self-analysis to
determine how existing operations can be adapted to meet these
objectives. When the procedures are in place, a team of trained assessors verifies that applicable standards have been successfully implemented.
There are a number of benefits to becoming an “Accredited” communications center. Emergency communications center personnel represent the first tier of public safety, often providing over-the-phone life-saving measures. Communications personnel act as the lifeline to both the public, as well as public
safety personnel on the ground. Managers direct and control their personnel’s activity through supervision, training, and written policies and procedures. Since supervisors cannot always be present, the training, policies, and procedures of the communications center are critical to ensuring proper performance. Appropriate equipment is also necessary. The program ensures each center has addressed the most critical communications issues in both policy as well as
actual operation. The program does not tell a communications center what their policy must be, but rather it ensures that the policy, procedure, or operation addresses all of the critical aspects of an issue. Accredited status represents a significant professional achievement. Accreditation acknowledges the implementation of policies and procedures that are conceptually sound and operationally effective.
The Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police (AACOP), and Arizona Law Enforcement Accreditation Program (ALEAP) have provided emergency communications centers in the state with an avenue for demonstrating that they meet commonly accepted best practices and industry standards for the safe, effective, efficient and non-discriminatory delivery of professional services. It is recognized that the standards included in this program do not reflect the maximum amount that can be done by a communications center in any one area. They also are not minimum standards. Emergency Communications Directors and Managers who voluntarily choose to have their centers accredited under this program will have examined all aspects of their operations. They will have made conscious decisions about policies and procedures that fit the requirements of their jurisdictions and will have implemented those policies and trained employees in their use.
Accreditation does not reflect that one communications center provides better services to its community than that of a non-accredited agency. What it does reflect is that the accredited center was carefully measured against an established set of standards and has met or exceeded accepted practices in emergency communications services. The attitudes, training and actions of personnel of Arizona’s emergency communications centers best reflect compliance with the standards contained in this program. Policies and procedures based on accreditation standards, will not ensure a crime-free environment for citizens, nor will it ensure an absence of litigation against communications centers and executives. However, effective and comprehensive leadership through professionally based policy development is directly influenced by an accreditation program that is comprehensive, obtainable and based on standards that reflect professional service delivery as well as community expectations.