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911 Public Safety Telecommunicator Academy

Info SessionThere are over 6,000 Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) in the United States of America. This course will teach the skills and knowledge to be able to work in any of those PSAPs, and the skills are easily-transferable to other employers.

There is a 19% nationwide turnover of employees in the 9-1-1 profession. There is a high demand for employees who can successfully perform these job skills.

Locally, in Palm Beach County, salary ranges are $31,046 - $66,300.

Employment in this field is steady, reliable and typically comes with excellent benefits packages for health insurance and retirement.

911 Telecommunicator Catalog Details

Next class begins August 28, 2017 - View Flyer


The Palm Beach State College 9-1-1 Public Safety Telecommunicator Academy meets or exceeds the State of Florida Department of Health requirements for certifying students, and preparing them to succeed at the State Exam. Our faculty members serve on numerous State and National boards and committees, ensuring the information we teach is the most current and relevant to today's issues in the emergency 9-1-1 profession.

As a student in this 9-1-1 Public Safety Telecommunicator Academy, you will be exposed to many facets of emergency public safety services. Many of the classes include the same information that is taught to Police, Fire, and Rescue recruits.

Training topics may include:

  • 10 codes and signals
  • Operational skills
  • Suicide awareness and preventation
  • Telecommunications best practices for responding to missing and exploited children
  • Active shooter
  • Sit-ins at real 9-1-1 dispatch centers
  • K9/SWAT Demonstrations
  • Hazardous material (HAZ-MAT) demonstrations
  • Critical incident stress management
  • Hostage negotiations
  • How to interview well for a job in 9-1-1
  • Radios & telematics
  • Trauma hawk and trauma center tour
  • Test preparation to pass the state exam

Please join us for a free Information/Orientation Session

Date TBA @ 6:00 pm

Public Safety Training Center - room #205

Lake Worth campus

Driving Directions to LW campus

Palm Beach State College utilizes adjunct instructors who are recognized subject matter experts in their field. They are all well-versed in the class subjects they are selected to teach, and are passionate about delivering this education to the students.

After graduation, these instructors function as valuable personal contacts within the 9-1-1 industry for the students.

Director:  Joseph Schroeder

Program Coordinator: Phil Berlingo


Lead Instructors

Thomas MargettaThomas J. Margetta

Tom Margetta serves as one of the Lead Instructors in the 9-1-1 Dispatch Academy. He began working for 9-1-1 in 1991, in South Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and then as a Telecommunicator with Boca Raton, Florida, in 1994. He was quickly promoted, and rose to the level of 9-1-1 Manager. He was responsible for the initial overall organization of the Palm Beach State College Public Safety Telecommunicator program and certification of it by the State of Florida Department of Health. He serves on many local and national committees, including the Palm Beach County 9-1-1 Training Committee, International Academy of Emergency Dispatch Police Council of Standards, and as an Ambassador for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). Tom has an obvious passion for all things "9-1-1," and organizes several local training opportunities including the wildly popular South Florida Mini-Conference, charity events through The Cool Kids of 9-1-1 social group, and individual consulting through APA Global, LLC, as a managing member.


Adjunct Instructors

Julie BrandtJudy Brandt

Judy Brandt serves as a Lead Instructor in the 9-1-1 Dispatch Academy.  She began her 9-1-1 career in 1989 with the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department and quickly began training new hires. In 1992, she was promoted to shift supervisor. Judy became the first Communications Manager for the department in 2002. Around that time, Judy also implemented and became Chairperson of the Palm Beach County Training Committee. The Palm Beach County Training Committee's goal is to provide increased training at reduced costs to all Palm Beach County 9-1-1 agencies. A side benefit is that dispatchers become familiar with their counterparts in other agencies and gain a better understanding of the differences and similarities among all of the agencies.  This diversity encourages tolerance and teamwork between the agencies, and results in friendships outside of the work environment.  Judy is an APCO-certified Instructor of the Public Safety Telecommunicator course, as well as the Communications Training Officer and Supervisor Courses. She continues to lead NorthCom, a consolidated dispatch center serving the communities of Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter, Juno Beach, and Jupiter Inlet Colony.


Sabrina Harris WallaceSabrina Harris-Wallace

Sabrina Harris-Wallace, MS, has been an affiliate of the 9-1-1 Public Safety Telecommunicator Academy (PBC) since the inception of this noteworthy endeavor, and she continues serves in the official capacity of Adjunct Instructor. Her journey of esteemed public service in the emergency services arena began the latter portion of September 1998, and her chosen career path has continued to twist and turn on ever-expounding levels for well over a decade and counting.

Ms. Harris-Wallace proudly affirms that she is a telecommunicator "first" deep in the core of her heart; however, it bears notation that she has experienced upward advancement on varying levels in tune with the pulsating beat of the 911 profession to include Emergency Communications Operator status, Communications Training Officer status, Emergency Communications Shift Supervisor status and Dispatch Training Coordinator status. Ms. Harris-Wallace's educational background is eclectic by design to include a Masters of Science degree in Psychology & Counseling (with a tri-certification in Mental Health, Addictions and Marriage & Family) from Palm Beach Atlantic University (2008), a Bachelors degree in Business Administration (Summa Cum Laude) from Northwood University (2005) and an Associates degree in Business Management (Magna Cum Laude) also from Northwood University (2004). Ms, Harris-Wallace is also a well-known public speaker and certified trainer having presented and facilitated (both past and present) for the City of West Palm Beach Workplace Learning Center, APCO International Inc, The Palm Beach County School Board, Grassroots Consulting Firm, West Palm Beach Dispatch Operations, Toastmasters International (local chapter), Exceptionalities Training Facility, and The International Poet's Society. She is a Certified APCO Communications Training Officer Instructor, is certified in Crisis Intervention Training (CIT), Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM- PBC), and she is also certified in Incident Dispatch Training (IDT).

Ms. Harris-Wallace's life mantra is "Family First", as she indisputably enjoys spending quality time with her family and their Shih Tzu mixed with Poodle named "Bree" and their Yorkie mixed with Cocker Spaniel named "Sasha". She is also an accomplished technical and creative writer, a published poet, a spoken word artist, an avid reader, a life coach and counselor, a highly recommended mentor, a lover of various music genres (most notably Jazz & Neo Soul), a fashionista who adores all style of shoes, and she loves to travel.


Brad fitzer

Brad Fitzer

R. Bradford Fitzer is the founder and C.E.O. of The BlackDove Group, Inc. His responsibilities include executive management and  coordination of consulting, executive protection services, investigation, and training in the corporate and public safety sectors. Mr. Fitzer has over twenty-nine years experience in public safety and management of critical incidents in Fire, Law Enforcement, EMS, and Emergency Management. He has served on tactical weapons (SWAT) and special enforcement units. He is certified as a law enforcement instructor, and law enforcement firearms instructor in Florida who teaches at the Criminal Justice Institute at Palm Beach State College. Mr. Fitzer also serves as an Adjunct Instructor and Subject Matter Expert for the National Response & Rescue Training Center (NERRTC), located at Texas A&M University, teaching and facilitating a variety of Department of Homeland Security courses. Mr. Fitzer holds a Master of Public  Administration from Nova Southeastern University, a B.S. in Organizational Management from Palm Beach Atlantic University, and an A.S. in EMS Management from Palm Beach Community College. He is currently a licensed Paramedic, Firefighter, Corrections Officer, and Law Enforcement Officer.


David OverturfDavid Overturf

David Overturf has been in the telecommunications field for over 18 years. David started his career in June 1997 with the Royal Palm Beach Police Department, handling call-taking for both emergency and non-emergency calls, customer service, and dispatching law enforcement personnel to all calls for service. While working for a small agency has it challenges, David wanted to move to an agency with room to grow within the telecommunications field, so in November 1998 David was hired with the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office as a Communications Officer.

Having been hired by the Sheriff's Office, David continued to work part-time for the Royal Palm Beach Police Department until April 1999. Growing within the Sheriff's Office brought new opportunities; David became a member of A.P.C.O. (Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials) and completed the A.P.C.O. Communications Training Officer course in his pursuit on becoming a Communications Training Officer which he accomplished in August 2003. David continued to train and mentor new telecommunicators hired at the Sheriff's Office until April 2006 when he was promoted to Communications Supervisor.

In June 2011, David was hired with Palm Beach State College as an Adjunct Instructor to assist in teaching the 9-1-1 Public Safety Telecommunicator Program. Once a person completes this program and passes the state exam they are then certified by the State of Florida to be 9-1-1 Public Safety Telecommunicator.  David is also a member of T.E.R.T. (Telecommunicator Emergency Response Taskforce), is C.I.T. (Crisis Intervention Team) certified and C.I.S.M. (Critical Incident Stress Management) certified. David continues to grow in his career, he strives to make a difference in the telecommunications field mentoring, molding and teaching the dispatchers of tomorrow along with serving the citizens of Palm Beach County.


Michael MessineoMichael Messineo

Michael began his public safety career with the Lynbrook Fire Department in NY in 1988 as an EMT and later became an AEMT-CC and Field Training Officer. Since relocating to Florida in 1996, Mike has worked both on the road and in administration for LifeFleet Atlantic  Ambulance, American Medical Response and Medics Ambulance. In 2004 he returned to the Fire department and began working in the Palm Beach County Fire Rescue Communications Center as a Communicator III/CTO. He is currently an APCO certified Public Safety Telecommunicator instructor and Certified Training Officer and has assisted the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office Communications and other local law enforcement agencies by teaching the Fire components of their programs. He has been an adjunct instructor with Palm Beach State College since 2009 at the Palm Beach County Fire Rescue Training Center and has been with the 9-1-1 Public Safety Telecommunicator Academy since the inception of the program. When he's not working or teaching he likes to spend time with his wife and 4 kids.


Daniel KoenigDaniel Koenig

Daniel Koenig began his work in Public Safety during his high school years as a lifeguard and EMT on the beaches of New Jersey. This passion for public safety and helping others led him to become a volunteer EMT and firefighter. During his volunteer tenure, he rose through the ranks and spent several terms as Captain and President of the Manasquan (NJ) First Aid Squad. Dan also worked for the Manasquan Police Department in various capacities, including Communications and Records.

In 1996, Dan moved south to Florida and continued his career in Public Safety. Several turns of events had his career path focus on Dispatch and Communications. He worked for North Palm Beach and Palm Beach Shores in full and part-time capacities, respectively, before accepting a position with the Palm Beach Police Department. Here he served as CTO and Supervisor. During this time, he was instrumental in assisting with the growth of All-Risk Incident Dispatch Teams (IDT) nationwide and is a charter member of the National Incident Dispatch Association. Dan has taught Incident Dispatch Teams across Florida and the U.S. He has also had articles published in 9-1-1 Magazine about IDT. Other duties in Palm Beach included serving as Florida Department of Law Enforcement Terminal Agency Coordinator and on the department's Awards Committee.

Manalapan (FL) Police Department hired Dan in May 2005 as their Support Services Manager. In this capacity, he was responsible for the Administrative Branch of the Police Department. This included oversight of the administrative functions of the department including communications, records, training, personnel, fleet and facilities, evidence and crime scene. He served as Secretary on the Board of Directors of the Special Operations Leadership Association (SOLA) of Palm Beach County.

In 2011, Mr. Koenig accepted a position as 9-1-1 Coordinator with Palm Beach County Public Safety Department. Currently, Dan serves on the project team overseeing the implementation of the County's new 30 million dollar NG9-1-1 network and system as the NG9-1-1 Planning Coordinator. During emergency management activations, he serves as the Resource Unit Leader. He is a member of both APCO and NENA. While serving in various areas and aspects of public safety, Dan has always remained focused on training and public education.


SherriSherri Temperato

Sherri Temperato is an adjunct Instructor at Palm Beach State College. She brings with her 19 years of experience in the Public Safety Telecommunicator field. She is considered a Subject Matter Expert on Active Shooter events. She is currently the Administrative Training Officer for the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office. In her role as an Administrative CTO, she oversees much of the hiring process for incoming Public Safety Telecommunicator Trainees. She is also responsible for filling Lead Instructor duties for the State of Florida Department of Health Public Safety Telecommunicator-approved training program hosted at the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office. Sherri is a Certified APCO Public Safety Instructor, APCO Public Safety Telecommunicator, APCO Communications Training Officer, and has received training in Public Safety Telecommunicator Crisis Intervention, CISM-Individual Crisis Intervention, and Peer Support. Sherri instructs in numerous venues across the State of Florida such as Palm Beach State College 9-1-1 Dispatch Academy, State Conferences, and academic classrooms. Mrs. Temperato has received numerous monthly commendations, including the annual 2009 APCO Training Officer of the Year Award. Sherri believes in and displays a strong work ethic, successfully motivates others, and is on a mission to encourage potential Public Safety Telecommunicators to accept the challenge of entering a new and rewarding career.


Jennifer SpeersJennifer Speers

Jennifer Speers started her career in Public Safety in 2005 with the Delray Beach Police Department. Ms. Speers dispatched Police and Fire personnel, while handling emergency and non-emergency calls. She has served as a Communications Training Officer, Training Coordinator, and Communications Supervisor. Jennifer was a part of the committee to write the lesson plan for the training program at her Department which was certified by the Department of Health. Also, she was on the project team that implemented the agency's new Computer Aided Dispatch system where she served as one of the main points of contact for the Communications Center. Ms. Speers has been an Adjunct Instructor for Palm Beach State College's 9-1-1 Academy since August of 2013 and she hopes to grow with the college by being a part of this Public Safety 91-1- Telecommunicator Academy. She enjoys teaching the new students as it gives her a way to spread her knowledge and experience to these future Telecommunicators When she is not glued to the computer/radio or teaching she enjoys spending time with her son and enjoying the outdoors.


LynnLynn Fearnley

Lynn Fearnley began her career in Public Safety in 2006 as a dispatcher for the Boca Raton Police & Fire Services Department. She has continued to grow with the City of Boca Raton, becoming a Communications Training Officer in 2009, and then being promoted to Administrative Supervisor in 2011. Lynn has a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice and Psychology and a Masters of Public Administration from Florida Atlantic University. Lynn has worked as an Adjunct Professor with Palm Beach State College since 2011, and currently teaches several courses in the 911 Dispatch Academy. Lynn is also a member of C.I.S.M (Critical Incident Stress Management) and C.I.T (Crisis Intervention Team).


NewmanScott Newman

Scott Newman has over 25 years of public safety experience, including 10 years as an active member of the Spring Valley Fire Department in Rockland County, NY, and with the Boca Raton Police and Fire Departments as a police and fire dispatcher. He is certified in EMD, EPD and EFD by the International Academy of Emergency Dispatch (IAED) and holds additional training certifications with APCO. Additionally, he is a Communications Incident Technician (COM-T) as well as Communications Unit Leader (COML) and a certified instructor for the Telecommunicator Emergency Response Taskforce (TERT) and serves as a current member for this region. He is a National Instructor for Incident Dispatch Team (IDT) under the Florida Fire Chiefs Association.

As a telecommunicator for the City of Boca Raton he keeps current with extensive training and knowledge of the department's Tactical Dispatch Team (IDT). Scott was one of the founding members and has been recognized as Team Leader for over 10 years. He has handled many events including radio coordination and activities during the United States of America Presidential Debate in 2013 at Lynn University in Boca Raton. He remains trained as a Hostage Negotiator and responds to all major Police and Fire events in Boca Raton.


Donna RossDonna Ross

Adjunct Instructor Donna Ross began working as a Telecommunicator in the 9-1-1 profession with the Town of Palm Beach in 1987 and served for 15-1/2 years with the agency. She then accepted a promotion to the Unit Supervisor/Manager for the Jupiter Police Department in 2003. In May of 2011, Jupiter merged its Communications unit with the Palm Beach Gardens and Juno Beach Police Department Communications units to form the consolidated center known as NORTHCOM. Ms. Ross was selected to serve as the Asst. Communications Manager. The North Regional Communications Center has since expanded to manage dispatch operations for Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter, Juno Beach, Jupiter Inlet Colony and most recently the Village of North Palm Beach Police Departments. Ms. Ross is a Certified Instructor for courses including the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO) Public Safety Telecommunicator I, APCO Communications Training Officer and APCO Communications Center Supervisor.  She is a Certified Incident Dispatch Team member and IDT Instructor, and has achieved professional recognition as an Emergency Number Professional (ENP) by the National Emergency Number Association (NENA). She further serves as one of NORTHCOM’s Terminal Agency Coordinators (TAC), a responsible position required by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. She has previously served on the Palm Beach County Training and Public Education Committees.  In addition to the courses she teaches at Palm Beach State College’s 9-1-1 Dispatch Academy she is also an instructor with Benchmark Seminars.

Ms. Ross enjoys the love of music and singing. Since 2003, she has been a member of the Ebony Chorale of the Palm Beaches in the Alto section, and also sings as an Alto/2nd Soprano in her membership church Trinity United Methodist choir in West Palm Beach, FL.


Sabrina SmithSabrina Smith

Sabrina Smith started her career in Public Safety in 1997 with the Riviera Beach Police Department. Her duties included call taking, radio dispatching, and the teletype position. After 7 years, she relocated to the state of Georgia where she continued her career as a Telecommunicator with the McRae Police Department/911 Telfair-Wheeler County for approximately 2 years.  Here she received certification by the Georgia Peace Officers Standard and Training academy as a Communications Officer. After relocating back to Florida, she was employed with the Florida Atlantic University Police as a Police Dispatcher for approximately 1 year before being re-hired by the Riviera Beach Police Department and has been employed with them since. She currently serves as an Assistant Training Coordinator, APCO-certified Communications Training Officer, and International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED) Emergency Telecommunicator Course (ETC) Instructor.


Tasha Topin DavisTasha Toppin-Davis

Tasha Toppin-Davis has over 20 years of experience in Law Enforcement beginning with the New York City Police Department in 1992 as a Police Administrative Aide.  In 2000, after relocating to South Florida, Tasha entered into a career as an emergency communications operator with the City of West Palm Beach Police Department where she developed a love for dispatching and the 9-1-1 profession. She is currently a telecommunicator with the Town of Palm Beach Police Department. Having served as a Communications Training Officer, she was recognized for her work in revamping the training manual for the Departments twenty-two week training program. She is an Active Member of the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO) and the National Academy of Emergency Medical Dispatch (NAEMD).  In addition, she is a Certified Incident Dispatcher (IDT), Certified APCO Communications Training Officer, and has received training in CISM- Individual and Group Crisis Intervention, Peer Support, and Pastoral Crisis Intervention.

Mrs. Toppin-Davis holds a Masters of Business Administration from South University (2014) and a Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies from Barry University (2011).    She is currently pursuing a Ph. D. in Public Policy and Administration with a specialization in Emergency Management.  Recently hired as an Adjunct Instructor for Palm Beach State College to assist in teaching the 9-1-1 Public Safety Telecommunicator Academy, Tasha strives to educate and inspire those new to the profession using real life experiences to further enhance the learning process.

FL Department of Health

Cool Kids of 9-1-1

Class 002 students were interviewed by Ricardo Martinez of the 9-1-1 podcast show Within The Trenches, on a break from their Active Shooter Class at the South Florida "Mini-C" Miniature Training Conference April 3rd, 2013, in Boca Raton, FL. Hear what they had to say about getting started in the 9-1-1 field, their experiences in the Academy, and their advice for anyone thinking about taking this class and becoming a 9-1-1 dispatcher!  Listen to the podcast.

The Denise Amber Lee Act
The Denise Amber Lee Act was passed unanimously by the Florida Legislature on April 24, 2008, as Florida State Statute 401.465. This law mandates minimum training standards and certification for Florida's 9-1-1 Public Safety Telecommunicators.

Denise Amber Lee was a 21-year old loving mother of two young boys who was kidnapped, raped, and murdered on the west coast of Florida on January 17th, 2008. Through a series of mis-steps and negligent errors, 5 separate 9-1-1 calls were made concerning her case that day, including one from Denise herself. Despite their best efforts, law enforcement authorities were not able to save her in time. When it was later discovered that a 9-1-1 operator had failed to broadcast critical information in time to the responding units, the Lee family (and Denise's father, Detective Sgt. Rick Goff) pursued legal action and pushed for passage of this law.

The Lee and Goff families have established the Denise Amber Lee Foundation whose mission is: to promote and support public safety through uniform training, standardized protocols, defined measurable outcomes, and technological advances to the 9-1-1 system.

Florida State Statute 401.465
The intent of the Legislature in adopting Chapter 2010-188, Laws of Florida, appears to have been the professionalization of E911 service by creating a mandatory statewide system for the certification and training of these personnel. Palm Beach State College seeks to contribute to this professionalization through its support and hosting of the 9-1-1 Public Safety Telecommunicator Dispatch Academy. This is the only Academy of its kind in South Florida with enrollment open to self-sponsored students interested in entering this career. View Florida State Statute 401.465


911 Public Safety Telecommunicator Academy
Palm Beach State College was approached by a local 9-1-1 Manager in February 2011, and began working on the logistics of organizing, hosting, and supporting this Academy. The first class (#001) session officially began June 19th, 2012, with a class enrollment of 14 students. Through cooperative agreement with the Palm Beach County 9-1-1 Training Committee, additional local 9-1-1 Telecommunicators who already held state certification participated in, and contributed to, select classes. On October 4th, 2012, all 14 students successfully graduated the program and were prepared to take the State Exam.   Class #002 began on January 7th, 2013, with another enrollment of 14 students.


PST Logo



Our Logo
The "Together As One" logo was created by Class #001 graduate, Billy Osment. This design signifies the three Public Safety disciplines: Law Enforcement, Fire Services, and Emergency Medical Services all under the watchful headset of the 9-1-1 Public Safety Telecommunicator. 9-1-1 Dispatchers are responsible for not only the safety of their callers, but also their co-workers in the field.


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Contact Info

Phone: 561-868-3378 or email

Phil Berling, Coordinator

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