UPDATE: House Bill 1090 was signed by Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday, June 11th and will be in effect on Sept. 1, 2019.
“Basically, this bill actually adds the dispatcher to the first responder definition that will allow full access to benefits and protections as other responders already have,” Paris Police Chief Bob Hundley said, “our dispatchers are invaluable to any emergency response and this bill brings them legally to the same level as the other responders.”
The approved amended terminology of the definition now includes those Texans that work in, “an emergency response operator or emergency services dispatcher who provides communication support services for an agency by responding to requests for assistance in emergencies; and other emergency response personnel employed by an agency.”
“Our Telecommunicators have such an important role in public safety and for the most part the first contact that a citizen has reported a crime or needing help in an emergency,” said Sheriff Scott Cass. “The Telecommunicator is sometimes referred to as the “unseen first responder” who quickly puts into play the resources needed to get the initial emergency response covered. Calm and steady voice and with extensive training; our telecommunicators do that job in an outstanding way. I am glad HB 1090 passed and includes Telecommunicators as first responders.”
The Act will take effect on September 1, 2019.