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Florida's Denise Amber Lee Act Inspires Illinois 9-1-1 Training Standards

Date: 2012-10-26
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President, Nathan Lee, meets with Illinois state 9-1-1 officials working on establishment of a uniform training and certification standard

The Denise Amber Lee Act requiring all 9-1-1 call takers and dispatchers in the state of Florida to complete 232 hours of training and pass a state test takes effect this month.  Other states wishing to duplicate this high level of standardized training for their state 9-1-1 workers are taking notice and asking for guidance from Florida stakeholders.  Members of the Denise Amber Lee Foundation were recently conducting two days of training to Chicago area 9-1-1 telecommunicators and were asked to meet with the Illinois committee currently working on a similar standard and legislation for their state.   Members of the Illinois Public Safety Telecommunicator Training and Certification Initiative Committee and the Denise Amber Lee Foundation [pictured below; Nathan Lee at center] met for a couple of hours at the headquarters of Motorola Solutions in Schaumburg, Illinois.  The standard for Illinois is close to completion and Denise Amber Lee Foundation President, Nathan Lee, offered successful strategies used in Florida to assist in passage of the legislation.  Illinois Committee members hope to use similar strategies when their bill is filed in the near future in the Illinois General Assembly.

Chairman, Sherrill Ornberg of the Illinois Public Safety Telecommunicator Training and Certification Initiative Committee said this; “A few years ago, Nathan Lee was invited to be the sole closing session speaker at the IPSTA (Illinois Public Safety Telecommunications Association) state conference in Springfield, Illinois.  I was aware of the Lee family tragedy.   The conference hall was filled with every seat occupied and the audience uncharacteristically hung on his every word.  Other than his voice, there was an eerie silence in the room.  I've worked in emergency communications for the last 42 years and thought there was not much that could unnerve or astonish me.  However that day was certainly unforgettable.  That experience changed my life.  I decided on that day, at that meeting, I would do whatever it took to ensure that all Illinois PSAP call-takers and dispatchers would have standardized training and mandatory certification”.   

Additionally, committee member, Brian Tegtmeyer offered this; “Nathan’s ability to relate a personal tragedy and motivate us to always do our jobs at the highest level is an inspiration to those who take 9-1-1 calls and support the systems needed to operate 9-1-1". 

About the Denise Amber Lee Foundation
The mission of the Denise Amber Lee Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit, is to promote and support public safety through uniform training, standardized protocols, defined measurable outcomes and technological advances in the 9-1-1 system.  Established in June 2008, in response to the murder of Denise Amber Lee, the foundation seeks to use the emotional power of this senseless tragedy to promote and encourage the use of technology, training, and procedures to reduce the occurrences of human error.  The foundation is determined to channel and focus the public outrage of these tragic events to drive rapid change to public policy and procedures.  For more information, please visit

About the Illinois Public Safety Telecommunicator Training and Certification Initiative Committee
The Committee is a joint initiative of members of both Illinois NENA and Illinois APCO.  The mission of this new joint NENA APCO Committee is to create a training curriculum and standards for all telecommunicators in the State of Illinois. This initiative will include a mandatory quality assurance program, not just for EMD calls but for all call taking and dispatching practices. Once completed, the proposed programs will be presented to the NENA and APCO Executive Boards for approval. Then it will be the Committee’s responsibility to coordinate efforts with the Legislative Committee to shepherd this initiative through the legislation process. It is only through a legislative mandate that this program will be successfully implemented throughout the State.

- People, Places & Things/ (via Denise Amber Lee Foundation, 10/24/12)



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