About an hour west of downtown Chicago, Tri-Com Central Dispatch handles emergency communications for police, fire and EMS; they receive an average of 125,000 9-1-1 calls each year. Joe Schelstreet, Executive Director, and Andrew Kunstler, Training Coordinator, manage the training program for 26 staff members, which includes 14 full-time and two part-time Telecommunicators, as well as IT, GIS, CAD, and supervisor staff.
Tri-Com implemented Vector Solutions’ Learning Management System (LMS) in 2016 (branded as TargetSolutions at that time). Andrew said they use the LMS to help onboard new employees, track certifications, deliver monthly training, and keep supervisors informed of everyone’s training status. “We average around six new Telecommunicators each year so we use the LMS to deliver and track all their training,” said Andrew. “Our training program starts with four to five months of call taking and police dispatch training, followed by another few months of Fire and EMS dispatch training, and we can streamline and track all completed certifications through the LMS.”
Tri-Com has set up Credentials in the LMS for two of their state certifications for the FOIA Officer and the LEAD program. They also assign training activities for their monthly EMD training, as well as APCO certifications and recertifications, additional training courses like Active Shooter Review, policy updates, and more. Joe explained, “Supervisors receive notifications of when their staff members complete their training and can run reports to see what everyone has trained on during specific time periods, and what they may still need to take. The LMS keeps everyone up to date and on track.”
The LMS Bulletin Board is a place to post notifications and helpful resources that users see upon login. Tri-Com uses this area to post monthly continuing education announcements, professional association website links, state-specific resources, and relevant news. Tri-Com has also made good use of the File Center, which serves as a digital repository to store files and resources that users can access and link to training assignments and policy reviews at any time.
Without the LMS in place to streamline training, simplify documentation, and keep everyone up-to-date, Tri-Com would be reliant on an outdated system that many Emergency Communication Centers (ECC) still use today—the old spreadsheet and Word doc system. These manual, server-based systems are prone to human error and do not provide the detailed documentation and training accountability that web-based Vector LMS provides. Tri-Com is a progressive ECC and realizes the value of investing in training for their staff as well as an online training platform that enhances their training program and provides an important risk management tool.
“Supervisors receive notifications of when their staff members complete their training and can run reports to see what everyone has trained on during specific time periods, and what they may still need to take. The LMS keeps everyone up to date and on track.”
Joe Schelstreet, Executive Director