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Opposition to Florida Training Bill Amendment

The husband of a Florida kidnap-murder victim has joined the state’s chapter of the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO) to urge legislators amend a proposed bill that would allow law enforcement officers to work as dispatchers without hands-on training. House Bill 1227 was introduced to allow public safety agency to retain some flexibility in staffing communications centers when dispatchers aren’t available. It has already been approved by two legislative committees, and was scheduled for a third committee hearing last Tuesday. Currently, the state’s dispatchers are working to complete mandatory training certification before an Oct. 2012 deadline. Their training includes a hands-on component that law enforcement officers would not have to complete under the proposed bill. But Nathan Lee, husband of Denise Lee who was murdered in Jan. 2008, says in a letter to legislators that, “Unfamiliarity with the use of the CAD system is EXACTLY what allowed Denise to be murdered.” He noted that the calltaker in the incident was “confused and untrained with entering call details into the CAD and instead would write the call details on a piece of paper and yell them across the room to the dispatchers.” The APCO chapter also has urged the legislator to include a hands-on training component before allowing law enforcement officers to dispatch. Download (pdf) the House committee’s information packet on the bill here, and a letter to a legislator from Nathan Lee, Denise’s father and Denise’s mother-in-law here. The APCO chapter of Florida has posted a call to action (pdf) and sample letter to state legislators.

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