December 12, 2023

911 SAVES Act would honor dispatchers, give access to additional resources

911 dispatchers help keep us safe every day. They deserve more recognition and respect for the difficult jobs they do.

That’s why AFSCME strongly supports the 911 Supporting Accurate Views of Emergency Services (911 SAVES) Act. This bipartisan bill will reclassify 911 dispatchers as a protective service occupation. Dispatchers are currently classified as serving in “administrative and clerical” roles.

The bill’s impact will go beyond recognition and respect. It would make 911 dispatchers eligible for funding to receive more training and expand access to mental health support.

Reps. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) introduced the 911 SAVES Act in the House of Representatives in November. A Senate companion bill is expected to be introduced soon.

“As a former 911 dispatcher, I know how important it is for dispatchers to have the training and resources they need to successfully do their work and help save lives,” said Torres, a former AFSCME member. “Dispatchers are the first line of response during an emergency, and they deserve to be classified in a way that recognizes that their work is on par with that of other public servants classified as first responders. Given the challenges facing 911 dispatchers, I have continued to champion the 911 SAVES Act in Congress, which would reclassify dispatchers as emergency personnel.”

AFSCME members fight at the state and federal levels — including earlier this year in Arizona — to win the support 911 dispatchers need to do their jobs. Our union believes the current classification of 911 dispatchers does not reflect or respect their central roles, duties or responsibilities.

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