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New legislation in Illinois would recognize emergency dispatchers as first responders

Published: Apr. 13, 2022 at 12:00 PM CDT
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QUAD CITIES, Iowa/Ill. (KWQC) - Illinois State Senator Neil Anderson and Representative Dan Swanson hosted a press conference Tuesday with an update on a bill that would recognize emergency dispatchers as first responders.

Senate Bill 3127 (SB3127) was passed unanimously by the House and Senate on Friday, April 8. The bill will now go to Governor JB Pritzgar’s desk for a signature.

If passed, the bill would amend several different laws to include emergency medical dispatchers as first responders.

“They are our eyes and ears. Police, fire, EMS, behind the scenes, before we get to the scene. They not only work to protect us and keep us safe, but also the citizens, the citizens of our communities,” said Sen. Anderson.

The passing of this legislation comes just in time for National Public Safety Telecommunicator Week.

Rep. Dan Swanson highlights the fact that there is a shortage of public safety employees, and hopes this week shines a light on the need of more people to work in the industry.

“These are essential workers that help residents and first responders through there most critical moments that help save countless lives and help people from every walk of life navigate through the most traumatic of times,” said Rep. Swanson.

Scott Ryckeghem, deputy director at QComm911 in the Quad Cities, highlighted the importance of emergency dispatcher. He said in a month’s time there are 10,000 calls for service, and 240,000 radio transmissions and phone calls out of the dispatch center.

“Being designated as a first responder will open up opportunities for our dispatchers to receive additional mental health benefits, specifically addressing PTSD in the communication centers. It will give us additional resources for funding, grants, training, free up some schedule restrictions that we have now,” said Ryckeghem.

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