Public Safety Communications Center Overview
Fiscal Year 2022/23
To ensure prompt emergency response for the citizens of Tucson, the Public Safety Communications Department strives to provide effective public safety services through the appropriate dispatch of fire, police, and medical units with the least possible delay. To accomplish this, a highly trained and capable work force is required who will maintain professional standards, through continued education, cost effectiveness, and cooperation both internal and with the surrounding public safety agencies. Public Safety Communication Team members will adhere to the highest standards of honesty, integrity, and morality in every action between and with the citizens we serve, and exhibit same with their fellow co-workers.
The following programs are included in this department:
Staffing By Program
*Full Time Equivalent Employee (FTE)
Budget By Program
Budget By Expense Category
Budget By Funding Source
The adopted budget for Fiscal Year 2022/23 of $$18,111,620 reflects an increase of $883,360 from the Fiscal Year 2021/22 Adopted Budget. Major changes include the following:
- Increase in employee salaries and related expenses by $438,770.
- New budget allocation for radio maintenance fees of $432,000 resulted from the acquisition of additional communication
system completed in FY2022; this system is crucial to support the department mission.
Significant improvement across all aspects and functions of the PSCD continue to be notable. Strategically spaced and incentivized recruitment and hiring, coupled with a more robust and comprehensive training program and enhanced employee wellness measures has added stability and has positively impacted performance metrics. The training division continues to adjust training to produce solid new performers, has increased the cross-training of existing forces and commissioned personnel, and has formalized train-the-trainer and supervisory training. Commissioned staff have continued to assist and impact performance matrices. Culture is shifting to a supported and empowered workforce with increased interest in promotional opportunities, achievable career paths and survey-confirmed increase in hope and morale.
Facility: PSCD completed the move to our new primary operations floor and administrative offices. The long-awaited generator and associated power distribution switch was successfully installed, allowing for the complex and time-consuming relocation of 69 work consoles, 207 computers and 345 monitors - all while seamlessly continuing to answer 911 calls for service. Included in the remodel was an employee wellness center and sensory decompression room to facilitate mental decompression and physical well-being opportunities. Both receive an impressively high rate of employee use.
Within the remodel budget, PSCD was provided funds for basic functional, disposable needs including phone headsets, keyboards, chairs, etc. that have historically come at the cost of training and other critical needs.
Employee Wellness: PSCD partnered with interns and a clinical psychologist from the University of Arizona (UA) to investigate end-user employee behavioral health needs and industry recommendations for care. Professional surveys saw an 89% participation rate, contributing to our ability to develop meaningful short-term support and a long-term plan that educates and provides staff with tools to manage critical incident stress and overall wellness. Partnership with TPD has allowed our staff to participate in the Boulder Crest Struggle Well program, where employees are taught how to thrive after trauma and how to integrate healthy principles into their lives. Partnership with the Greater Tucson Fire Foundation enabled the training of two peer fitness trainers to educate on nutrition, fitness, and proper use of fitness equipment.
Training: The training program is being rebuilt to increase the success and retention of employees. Completion of a training room that supports a live training environment is underway and scheduled for completion in the next ninety days. Training modules are being revised to reflect the training needs of a consolidated center and the facilitation of trainee feedback has improved through a structured and documented process. New promotes attended a newly created 120-hour supervisor academy and the department implemented nationally recognized training officer training for over 30 individuals.
Administration: The department continues to bring relevance to policies and standard operating guidelines, providing structure and direction for staff. 33 policies are in various stages of implementation to clarify long-contested issues such as attendance, employee breaks, use of personal electronic devises, uniform and appearance, discipline, use of committees and employee council and the use of extended workforce. Having structured policies and standard operating guidelines has increased confidence and feelings of fairness and has reduced biased decision making.
Workflow: PSCD committees continue to examine and improve upon workflow processes for fire, EMS and law enforcement call management, including the removal of MEDS and the addition of the Info Channel. Newly added data analysts have begun to compile performance and trend data long absent from our center and critical to informed decision making.
Crisis call-takers have been redeployed in the PSCD, and now manage over 1000 calls per month, resulting in a decreased use of EMS and law enforcement resources and improved immediate and long-term service to the person in crisis.
The Public Safety Communications Center will need continued attention to recruitment and hiring (35 open positions) and increased effort towards retention. Reconstruction of training will continue, and workflow efficiencies implemented. The department will require significantly improved IT support to manage the high load of ever-changing technologies that are critical to service delivery. Team building, employee wellness, policy, training, partnerships and structure efforts will remain a priority as the department works towards a truly consolidated center where unity of effort and enhanced identity is notable. Improved data collection and analysis will be critical to informed decision making.
Implementation of tools to enhance services to our community will include a quality assurance and improvement tool, integration of our Rapid SOS and Computer Aided Dispatch software, the build out of a CAD-to-CAD bridge with Pima County, preparation for the NextGen911 system, and the incorporation of 311 services.
A QA tool will assist in providing timely feedback to staff on their effectiveness in managing calls from the public, offering opportunity to improve performance and recognize extraordinary efforts. The integrated artificial intelligence component will improve call-management times and provide for a faster dispatch and delivery of pre-arrival instruction. While PSCD currently utilizes Rapid SOS to assist with confirming callers’ locations, it does not feed directly into CAD and requires the staff to utilize a different computer for each task. Integration of the two systems will streamline the confirmation of a correct caller location, reducing error and liability and employee stress.
Emergency Communications Centers (ECCs)require the ability to quickly notify and exchange critical event information. PSCD and Pima County Sheriff share the objective to integrate Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) systems, allowing real-time sharing of all emergency unit and event information. This has the potential to eliminate the many thousands of phone calls annually that compete with incoming 911 callers, improving awareness, communication, and first responder safety.
The State 911 office has awarded a statewide contract for improved 911 equipment and network. PSCD is scheduled for this state implementation in the spring of 2023, bringing PSCD a true Next Generation 911 (NG911) network, improving 911 call routing, and caller location accuracy, and preparing all Arizona 911 ECCs for evolving technology. This prepares PSCD to accept video, pictures, and data that legacy networks fail to deliver.
Approval to implement 311 under the PSCD umbrella presents the opportunity to redirect considerable non-emergency workload from 911 and improve right-sourcing efforts. The 311 operational business plan objectives include 911 nonemergency call diversion, information and request intake for City and Community Safety Health and Wellness services, connection to behavioral health, alternative response options, and future expansion through regional partnerships. Community expectations include a growing need for behavioral and crisis support, and PSCD will continue to prioritize and expand access to crisis practitioners through 911 and the future 311 services, supplementing and providing a higher level of service to the national 988 program.
PSCD has been an active participant in the Transform911 Blueprint and will be working to meet the objectives of the seven-point plan. Transform 911 is focused on improving the effectiveness, efficiency, and equity of the 911 system while making recommendations nationwide on minimum standards for training and the support of both our first responders and the citizens they are responding to. PSCD members will be participating and guiding those discussions, with involvement from all levels of the organization. We will complete a five-year strategic and business operations plan that incorporates the best of Transform 911, with emphasis on employee wellness and service delivery efficiencies and needs.
In partnership with TPD, PSCD will increase support of the Tucson Police Real Time Analytical Crime Center (TRACC), collocated within the PSCD, supporting the infrastructure needed to grow this unit into a more robust program that will complement our internal processes and serve our police officers in the field.
PSCD’s training program will continue to evolve as we assess results through efficient QA and feedback tools and deploy a live CAD training environment. Trainer and trainee feedback on the proposed use of this software has been tremendous and the ability to track and capture data and provide a better training experience is expected.
PSCD leadership will persevere in establishing the PSCD as an independent and well-consolidated department, with continued emphasis on mission, retention, long-term career pathways and over-all employee wellness by fostering and modeling trust and providing a positive and professional work environment.