Communications Training Officer, A Rewarding Job but Where Do I Start?


We understand how hard it is for dispatch staff to get to in-person training these days, as short-staffed centers are becoming the norm. With endless overtime and the constant training of new employees, your top trainers may be experiencing burnout and trainer fatigue. Many agencies have moved to using senior dispatchers as trainers. Yet, these same dispatchers might not actually have the training they need to be the best trainers for their agencies or their trainees.

We also know that the continual need to train new employees can be overwhelming for training supervisors and managers. A successful training program is the key to making the experience less stressful for everyone involved. During the design of this course, our POST Master Instructor/CTO used key components and core concepts from the CA POST and APCO training programs. Keeping in mind the need for training and the difficulty of sending employees away for a week, we felt it was vital to create a 24-hour class to help ensure your trainers can attend.

Your current and future trainers will receive the fundamentals of being a CTO and new insight into their abilities as trainers. They will learn the proper tools, techniques, and information to instruct others effectively. They will gain confidence by understanding the role and responsibilities of everyone involved in a training program. They will also learn about proper documentation and record-keeping, trainer liability, teaching techniques, and the need for consistency to ensure the program’s success.

Maintaining consistency in a training program is probably the most challenging part, as each trainer is different. A few ways to ensure consistency are to confirm trainer knowledge of the agency policies and procedures, test trainer skills regularly, and provide accurate and current material. Establishing policies and providing forms for detailed and easy-to-follow documentation are also necessary to help consistency. The training management team’s responsibility is to ensure CTOs receive training and possess the understanding to complete agency forms and write effective evaluations. By eliminating free-form documentation and evaluations, trainers know what management expects of them, and trainees know what to expect from the trainers. Using various forms of documentation and writing styles confuses trainees and results in errors leading to liability issues.

Sending trainers to a CTO course is a great starting point as they will complete the course with “how to be a CTO” fundamentals. Once these fundamentals are in place, agencies can build on them by creating an in-house training program to teach their CTOs about agency-specific forms, written documentation preferences, material, policy review, and other items helpful for success.

Tami Grammer