First, please allow me to introduce myself. I am Elora Forshee and I have the honor of serving as your 2017 Kansas APCO President. I am the Director of Sedgwick County 911 in Wichita, Kansas, leading a staff of 95 amazing call takers, dispatchers, supervisors, and support personnel – truly, I am in awe of them daily. I have been with Sedgwick County for 12 years, starting as a dispatcher and working my way up through the organization. I have coordinated the hosting of several APCO conferences and am serving my first term on the APCO Board. I am excited to have a role, albeit a small one, in helping dispatchers to develop into the public safety professionals that their very important job demands them to be.
If you are not aware, our spring APCO conference is right around the corner, April 10-12, in Overland Park, Kansas and I want to personally invite you and your fellow dispatchers and team members to attend. I have attended APCO conferences as a front line dispatcher, as a Supervisor, and now as a Director and have found value at every step. As a dispatcher I found that I brought back tools that not only fortified me in this tough job but helped me to build morale and enthusiasm in my department. As a supervisor I learned ways to help my team to stay strong and diligent in helping the citizens and field personnel we serve. As a Director I am able to get a view of the big picture beyond our county lines to help me stay on top of industry trends and keep my elected officials informed. And at every level, I always appreciate the networking that I do at an APCO conference. I love to have an issue and to be able to reach out to other 911 folks in the state and find out what they are doing to combat the same issue – I’m a believer in not reinventing the wheel and sharing ideas and information.
I know that cost is always a factor but the cost to send an employee to a state APCO conference is relatively low ($60 for members, $75 for non-members – this includes lunch and dinner on Tuesday and lunch on Wednesday). I understand that there are hotel costs and costs to cover dispatch while that employee is gone, I’m not immune from any of that. I also understand that it is increasingly expensive to run a comm center. But please don’t forget the return on our investment when we train and develop our employees. Study after study has shown that investing in the education of our employees creates a happy workplace and encourages retention with employees – two issues that we are continuously combating in our arena.
One last thing, and I thank you for entertaining this long email in your busy day, about the spring APCO conference. This is the time of year where we award our Telecommunicator of the Year, Line Supervisor of the Year, Director of the Year, and the Team of the Year. Now I know that it doesn’t take much effort to think of something that somebody on your team has done that has set them apart as a superstar over the past year. I often think that I wish I had more money or job incentives or something to throw at my team for the hard work that they do and that’s just not feasible. What is feasible, though, is for me to take 15 minutes to fill out a nomination form and get them the recognition they deserve. Please don’t overlook this opportunity to reward your team. Here is the link to find those easy to complete nominations http://www.ksapco.org/conference-registration-and-payment.html.
I hope to see you and somebody from your team at the spring conference! If I can do anything to serve you please let me know. For more conference information and to register please visit http://www.ksapco.org/conference-registration-and-payment.html.