Road Map for the Profession

Pam Stewart

Blast From The Past
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The International Academies of Emergency Dispatch established a Code of Ethics for all certified members to help build and ensure the professionalism of emergency dispatch.

The Academy Code of Ethics, and its corresponding Code of Conduct, should be well known by all emergency dispatchers certified through the Academy. Each time an emergency dispatcher recertifies, they attest to knowing and following the Code of Ethics and the Code of Conduct.

The Code of Ethics was established on the heels of the Academy’s founding in the late 1980s. It was created to help emergency dispatchers become successful professionals. For two decades it stood alone as the bedrock of a solid foundation for the profession. When the Code of Conduct was added around 2009, it built upon the Code of Ethics by outlining “the why” behind following the Code of Ethics.

The two are complementary, with at least one number in the Code of Conduct corresponding with a point in the Code of Ethics. For example, the first point in the Code of Ethics is regarding professionalism: “Academy-certified personnel should endeavor to put the needs of the public above their own.” In the Code of Conduct, the first item mentions not participating in or publicly endorsing any group or organization that “demeans the goals, objectives, credibility, reputation, goodwill, or dignity of the Academy or the public safety profession.”

Other areas of the Code of Ethics/Code of Conduct focus on:
• improving knowledge and skill
• notifying the Academy if convicted of a felony or crime involving moral turpitude
• avoiding using Academy certification for private or commercial gain
• maintaining patient privacy laws
• working to improve the public’s understanding of emergency dispatching
• avoiding anything that would impair the ability to properly function in the dispatch setting
• avoiding practicing or facilitating discrimination
• taking personal responsibility to maintain certification
• striving to always follow the Academy’s protocol and stay current on protocol changes

I invite all certified personnel to review the Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct thoroughly and reach out to the Academy for clarification, if needed. Remember, the Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct were established to serve as a road map for success in the emergency dispatch profession and are just as important today as when they were first introduced.