Dispatchers from across Alaska attend refresher training in Kenai

Posted: Monday, January 13, 2003

Public safety dispatchers and dispatch supervisors from agencies around the state are meeting in Kenai for in-service training on crisis intervention, liability and progressive supervision.

Dispatchers from the Kenai Police Department, Alaska State Troopers in Soldotna, the Anchorage Police Department, the University of Fairbanks, and Department of Public Safety agencies in Homer, Seward, Ketchikan, Kodiak and Bethel attended three days of training Wednesday, Thursday and Friday last week and some are attending today, Tuesday and Wednesday.

The training is hosted by the Kenai chapter of the Alaska Peace Officers Association and the Kenai Peninsula Borough, said Kenai Police Lt. Kim Wannamaker.

Attendees received training to better prepare them for emergency calls about domestic violence, home invasions, suicide, depression and child abductions, said Kevin Willett, an instructor with Public Safety Training Consultants of Redwood City, Calif.

"As with any job, dispatchers need refresher training," Willett said.

Asked if the training was deemed necessary after the problems with locating former Public Safety commissioner Glenn Godfrey's house last year, Willett said the timing of the training was coincidental. Anchorage police took 48 minutes to find Godfrey's home the night he was fatally shot, in part because they were given the wrong address by dispatchers.

"Actually we did the Alaska state crime conference in 2001 and (Kenai Police Chief) Chuck Kopp called that summer to set up this conference," said Willett.

"The turnout is no coincidence since the Godfrey matter," he said.

More than 30 people attended the training last week.

"The whole Godfrey thing puts a microscope over the Anchorage Police Department, but dispatching affects us all," Willett said.

"Day after day these people are at work saving lives," he said.

Lee Gattenby, dispatch supervisor for the city of Kenai, said, "I'm listening to the (Anchorage Police Department)."

"If I can learn from their hard lessons, we can avoid those problems in Kenai," he said.

Tammy Goggia, a 911 emergency dispatch supervisor for Alaska State Troopers E Detachment in Soldotna and Central Emergency Services, said all of the 911 dispatchers from Soldotna were attending the training.

"I'm here for refresher training and to network with dispatchers from the other agencies," Goggia said.

Wannamaker said he found the dispatch supervisor training to be "an affirmation of good personnel management."

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