Did you know the Aventura Police Department’s 9-1-1 Communications Section is 1 of 7 Public Safety Answering Points (PSAP) in Miami-Dade County? In 2020, the Aventura Police Department’s team of 14 Police Communications Officers (PCO) processed over 90,000 phone calls, out of which 11,200 of those were 9-1-1 calls for service.
APD’s Communications Officers are the first point of contact for people in desperate need of help. In-fact, 9-1-1 Dispatchers are often referred to as the first “First Responders.” A lot of time goes into training these amazing men and women. The State of Florida Department of Health requires all PSAP Operators to become certified 9-1-1 Telecommunicators. There are numerous certifications the operators must obtain, including the Emergency Medical Dispatcher (EMD) certification. The EMD Certification allows the Telecommunicator to provide life-saving and pre-arrival instructions to callers with medical emergencies. 9-1-1 professionals choosing to expand their career opportunities may also be certified as Emergency Number Professionals (ENP) or Certified Public-Safety Executives (CPE). Those certifications are invaluable to 9-1-1 Managers and Communications Supervisors.
There are many skills needed to perform the duties of this job. PCOs must be able to work under stress, use logic to reach solutions and communicate effectively. They must obtain essential information, calm the caller and send the appropriate responders to the right location. These professionals may also have to provide instructions to the caller, which in many cases is essential to stabilizing or saving a life.
The Aventura Police Department’s PCO are cross-trained to perform all functions found within a traditional 9-1-1 Center. That means that a PCO will answer 9-1-1 calls, dispatch police, and conduct criminal record checks, vehicle registrations, and driver’s license checks using the National Crime Information Center and Florida Crime Information Center (NCIC/FCIC).