by Mary Sue Robey, RPL
Accreditation Manager, Valley Communications Center
There have been many articles written on the wide array of benefits that the CALEA Accreditation process brings to an agency. Communications agencies should be aware that they also may be eligible for a few additional benefits in the form of reimbursement from their insurance provider.
Valley Communications Center in Kent, Washington has been in the CALEA process since 1999. We received our initial Public Safety Communications Accreditation award in November 2001 and have maintained our accredited status since then. Valley Com is proud of having received the “Flagship Agency” designation for two of its assessments.
Early on, our insurance provider, Washington Cities Insurance Authority (WCIA), realized not only what CALEA Accreditation stands for but recognized its importance and the “value added” to the individual agency. It was on board very quickly when it understood that CALEA Standards covered topics on operations, human resources, recruitment, accountability, finance, and training. When an agency can demonstrate it is meeting the most comprehensive set of internationally-accepted “best practice” standards available, coupled with the emphasis agencies must place on proper training and retraining, the agency becomes credible. But more importantly, by consistently meeting or exceeding these standards, an agency’s liability risk is lowered.
Based on the results of continuously complying with the standards as demonstrated by the CALEA Accreditation award, WCIA has for some time offered a reimbursement to its CALEA Accredited agencies in the amount of $1,000 once every award cycle. However, the provider recently decided to change its reimbursement policy; beginning in 2014, it will provide $1,000 per year instead of only once every three years.
WCIA also offers reimbursements in two additional areas. As we all know, training and retraining is a large part of the accreditation process. Mandated initial training and maintaining appropriate certifications not only lowers liability exposure, but demonstrates due diligence on the part of the agency. Our insurance provider saw this as a huge benefit to the agency and recently decided to offer an additional reimbursement based on training certifications. A training reimbursement of up to $1,000 is now provided for one participant each year to assist in covering the training costs associated with management level programs geared specific to communications centers. Two such programs that are eligible are the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO) Registered Professional Leader (RPL) certification and the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) Emergency Number Professional (ENP) certification. And the second area where reimbursements are offered is for communications dispatch certifications for which a variety of programs qualify.
I strongly recommend that all communications accredited check with their insurance provider regarding these and any other reimbursements it may offer based on your agency’s CALEA Accreditation status. And if it does not offer similar financial programs, ask “Why not?”