A Conversation With the Co-Chair of the PDEC Committee

With APCO’s Annual Conference and Expo rapidly approaching, Professional Development Events Committee (PDEC) co-chair, Charles Vitale, provides insight on this year’s educational opportunities and the committee’s work. The scope of the PDEC is to assist in selecting quality program topics and content for the educational tracks at the Annual Conference. The committee is responsible for reviewing over 300 submissions each year and narrowing it down to 117 outstanding sessions for over 5,000 attendees.

Charles Vitale, RPL, ENP, CPE, is a Public Safety Dispatcher II at Rochester Emergency Communications Department.

What big trends did you see this year that helped shape our program?
The biggest trends this year were NG9-1-1 and self-care. There were 70 submissions to the NG9-1-1 track this year. I believe that is the most we have received before in this track. The other topic I was glad to see was a lot of self-care for the people. How to take care of yourself and deal with the stress.

What topics do you think will make the most impact on our industry?
The biggest I think will be a hybrid of NG9-1-1 and self-care. I believe a lot of agencies are working on the technical aspect of NG9-1-1, but not the effects on the people. We are going to be subjecting our people to violent imagery and this is going to cause a long-term problem. We are getting better at taking care of our people, but we will need to step up our game soon.

How does the PDEC stay current on developments in our industry?
The reason we have great conferences and sessions is because of our committee members. We have a great mix of people on the committee from the front line, supervisors, to radio experts. Our members are the ones on the front line and they are in the best position to know what the current trends are and what is happening in our industry. They have an ear to the ground on what is happening which plays into ratings of the session submissions.

What advice do you have for an attendee about how to get the most out of their professional development at APCO 2018?
One of the two of the biggest things is to go to sessions! We offer 117 sessions over the length of the conference. Also, head to the vendor floor and talk with the vendors. See what is out there and what is up and coming. And lastly, and arguably most important, network! Meet people, make contacts and friends!  Expand your network of friends and professional contacts. See what other agencies are doing and share ideas!

For more information on how to further your knowledge in the public-safety communications industry, visit www.apco2018.org