Reclassifying Public Safety Telecommunicators as “Protective” Occupations

July 28th at 1:00 PM ET

The federal government’s statistical system for occupations – the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) – calls 9-1-1 professionals “dispatchers” and classifies them in an “administrative” category, along with office clerks and secretaries. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) coordinates the SOC, and all federal agencies that publish occupation data for statistical purposes are required to use the SOC to increase data compatibility across federal programs. OMB is conducting a formal process to revise the SOC.

APCO filed formal comments as part of the SOC revision process, suggesting two changes:
  • Use the title, “Public Safety Telecommunicators” (instead of “dispatchers”)
  • Classify them as a “protective” occupation, in the same category as police officers, firefighters, lifeguards, crossing guards, and TSA screeners (instead of with clerks and secretaries)
In a recent public notice, OMB announced proposed revisions to SOC, under which Public Safety Telecommunicators would continue to be inappropriately designated as “Office and Administrative Support Occupations.” These preliminary recommendations go against comments from APCO, the public, and the Congressional Next Gen 9-1-1 Caucus Co-Chairs advocating that Public Safety Telecommunicators be categorized as a “Protective Service Occupation.” APCO strongly disagrees with this designation and will use every available resource to ensure that this is rectified and Public Safety Telecommunicators receive the recognition they deserve.

Join this webinar to learn more about the SOC revision process, including instructions and suggested language for how interested parties can help convince OMB to reverse course.

(The SOC does not have a direct legal relationship to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Reclassification in the SOC would not, by itself, open the door for different treatment under FLSA.)


Jeff Cohen Jeff Cohen, APCO’s Chief Counsel & Director of Government Relations
Jeffrey Cohen is the Chief Counsel and Director of Government Relations at APCO International. Prior to joining APCO, Jeff served as a detailee from the Federal Communications Commission, for the minority staff of the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee. While on the Hill, Jeff was one of the authors of the public safety legislation enacted in February 2012, and worked on other communications issues including cybersecurity. Before his detail assignment, Jeff served as the Senior Legal Counsel to the Chief of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau. In this capacity, Jeff advised the Bureau Chief on a number of public safety and homeland security issues. Jeff is a recipient of the FCC’s Silver Medal Award, APCO’s Leadership in Regulatory Service Award, and the National Emergency Number Association’s Presidential Award. Prior to joining the FCC, Jeff was a partner at the Washington, DC telecommunications law firm of Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP, where he worked over ten years on wireless regulatory matters since graduating from the George Washington University Law School with honors in 1994. Jeff also holds a B.S. cum laude in electrical engineering from the George Washington University.

Mark Reddish Mark Reddish, APCO’s Senior Counsel & Manager of Government Relations
Mark Reddish has been a Government Relations Associate at APCO since 2012. He is also a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician in Maryland. During law school, Mark worked as a law clerk in the Office of the General Counsel at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and as an intern in the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission. Mark earned a B.A. in psychology, summa cum laude, from Washington University in St. Louis and a J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of Illinois College of Law where he served as an editor on the Jessup International Moot Court board.
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