Podcast

Jessica Flohrs is the Communications Center Manager at Teller County Sheriff's Office and has years of experience as a dispatcher, trainer, supervisor, and quality assurance analyst. Jessica holds a Communications Center Manager Certification through the National Emergency Number Association along with many other certifications.

If you have ever experienced overload, this is a great episode for you. Jessica reminds us that our brains are always capable of learning and re-learning if we allow ourselves time to train and grow.  She's had to re-train herself through working at different agencies and training others.  She also reminds us that, "They're just people" and we are all human.

During this episode of the podcast, you will hear about:

  • Some of Jessica's defining moments and why she has stayed in this career.
  • Her approach to leadership and training.
  • Tips on how to transition into a new role and different agency.
  • Recent technology changes in her center.
  • A surprising fact about 9-1-1 service.

Jessica references:

Eric Johnson is a shift supervisor at the Colorado Springs Public Safety Communications Center and holds his CMCP.  He has "been in the business" for 26 years and has worked for multiple agencies as an emergency response technician, public safety dispatcher, quality assurance specialist, trainer, and supervisor.  Eric reminds us that it's important to be introspective and find compromise when training different learning styles.  Not only will you hear about changes he's seen in technology, training, and processes but you'll also get some tips on transitioning into different roles and ways to strengthen your position and career.  Eric discusses the importance of:

  • Adapting to different learning and communication styles.
  • Establishing standards and thresholds in management.
  • Creating timetables and routines.
  • Leveraging technology to assist in tasks and projects.
  • Seeking ways to grow in this field.

In this episode Eric references:

  • The Retro Video Store podcast, which is available on all major podcast services.
  • The City of Colorado Springs.  If you're interested in working for them, you can visit coloradosprings.gov for more info

FINDING THE BALANCE BETWEEN INTRINSIC AND EXTRINSIC REWARDS AS A MANAGER.  A CHAT WITH RENEE HENSHAW.

Want to know what it takes to run an accredited communications center that uses three different types of emergency dispatch protocols? Renee Henshaw, Colorado Springs Public Safety Communications Center Manager may have some answers for you.  Renee has a Bachelor's in Sociology and a minor in Criminology from California State University Sacramento.  This non-practicing paralegal has worked in a variety of positions both inside and outside of a communications center.  Within a communication center, she's been an emergency response technician, public safety dispatcher, training coordinator, and supervisor.  Renee has also attended the Center for Creative Leadership. 

In this episode, Renee discusses:

  • The evolution of call answering and dispatch processes.
  • Changes in the tracking of information and data collection.
  • Changes in technology and 9-1-1 systems.
  • Ways to achieve longevity in the profession.
  • Takeaways from working in a variety of positions.
  • Interesting facts about her agency's communications center.
  • Things she has done to improve employee health, work environment, and employee retention.
  • Upcoming changes in the communications center.

Renee references:

LEGO OF MY SERVER! hOW INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY DIFFERS BETWEEN INDUSTRIES.  A CHAT WITH BENJAMIN GAIRRETT.

“The IT guy is going to just tell me to restart it.” Are you curious to know more about what an IT department is doing behind the scenes, specifically within the 9-1-1 industry? This episode will answer your burning questions about information technology within a public safety government entity. Benjamin Gairrett is the information technology support manager at the Authority and holds many certifications to include the ENP and CMCP. He discusses how technology and the industry has changed over his 9 years at the Authority.  He has used his military background and experience to breakdown functional silos and build “esprit de corps” within the IT department.

In this episode Benjamin talks about:

  • How technology has changed since working at Fort Carson, Norad, and the Authority.
  • The benefits and growth of virtualization.
  • His excitement with the relatively new Centralized Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD).
  • Tips for those getting into information technology.

Benjamin references:

  • Keyboard Video Mouse (KVM).
  • Building Lego creations to reduce stress.  If you’re new to Legos, you can check out some of these kits.
  • The military sci-fi series called Safehold by David Weber.

WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO? A LITTLE HISTORY WITH CHRISTY DAVIS.

Ever wonder what happens to the 9-1-1 surcharge or how the El Paso-Teller County 9-1-1 Authority came to be?  In our most recent 9-1-1 Weight in Gold episode, Christy Davis shares her knowledge of the Authority's history and how a variety of services are covered with the surcharge.  She discusses the changes she's seen in her profession as well as the 9-1-1 Authority and the constant demand to change with the times.

In this episode you will learn about:

  • How the surcharge is distributed and the criteria for funding.
  • How the 9-1-1 Authority has changed over the years.
  • What types of projects and tasks she is responsible for managing.
  • A few lessons learned when transitioning from a very small organization to a little bigger government entity.

Christy references:

FROM BEHIND A HEADSET TO STANDING ON A STAGE, HEAR HOW BEN BILLS BECAME A 9-1-1 PUBLIC EDUCATOR AND PIO.

Want to know what it takes to be an emergency telecommunicator or better yet a public information officer?  Ben Bills tells his story about how he got started in emergency dispatch and how it evolved to working a variety of jobs at the 9-1-1 Authority until he found his calling as a public educator and information officer. He explains how he created a public education program from the ground up and got into public speaking.

In this episode you will learn about:

  • The process of becoming an emergency services call taker and dispatcher.
  • Difficult calls he has taken.
  • How he handles stress.
  • How he started an education program and department.
  • Tips for public speaking and how to handle speaking in front of a large crowd.

Ben references:

TOGETHER WE'RE BETTER. A CONVERSATION WITH CARL SIMPSON, CEO OF THE EL PASO-TELLER COUNTY 9-1-1 AUTHORITY.

What's the best way to celebrate your work-iversary? A podcast recording, of course! Carl Simpson has been CEO at the El Paso-Teller County 9-1-1 Authority for five years.  Within that time, a lot has changed.  Learn a few secrets from the man upstairs and how he has shifted the culture and work environment at the Authority.

In this episode, you will hear and learn about:

  • Carl's background in the 9-1-1 industry.
  • Lessons learned when starting a new leadership position.
  • How to build a positive and motivating work environment.
  • Ways to handle stress.
  • Improvements in 9-1-1 technology.
  • The next big thing for the Authority.

This episode references:

9-1-1 Weight in Gold Trailer

We would like to introduce, 9-1-1 Weight in Gold!  This podcast explores everything within the unique and complex world of 9-1-1.  Starting from within our organization to the communication centers we serve, we will be discussing everything in the 9-1-1 industry.  

Learn about the El Paso-Teller County 9-1-1 Authority as we chat with members from the Administration, IT, GIS, Quality Assurance and Training, and Public Education departments.  Stay current with what's happening in 9-1-1 centers as we talk with communication center managers and telecommunicators.  Discover more about 9-1-1 as we interview others in the industry. 

These candid conversations are intended to be both informational and insightful. While we try to keep it light, some conversations may go deeper just like many stories in public safety do.

The podcast is currently available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and more! Help us spread the word by subscribing and leaving it a review.  You can also share, save, and like our social media posts about the podcast.  Everything helps and is very appreciated!