Anderson legislation to classify dispatchers as first responders makes its way through committee

Rep. Dan Swanson – 74th District
Senator Neil Anderson – 36th District

State Senator Neil Anderson and Representative Dan Swanson are pushing a new bill through the legislative process that would classify emergency dispatchers as first responders under Illinois code.

“As a fireman I not only understand the stress dispatchers go through, but we rely on them a lot during emergency calls for support and vital information,” said Sen. Anderson. “This bill is a commonsense proposal and something I have been working on for several years now.”

The idea stems from many constituents throughout the 36th Senate District and 74th House District.

“Dispatchers pick up the phone when people experience the worst moments of their lives,” said Rep. Swanson. “They are literally the first responders to trauma and we should support them in recovering from the life-altering trauma they shoulder as part of their important public service.”

Senate Bill 3127 would amend various laws to include “Emergency Medical Dispatchers” in reference to first responders, giving them the same recognition as police, firefighters and medics.

“Each day is different as a first responder. It can be stressful, rewarding and a thankless job sometimes, whether you are in the field or managing resources in the dispatch center,” said Sen. Anderson. “So, what this bill will do is amend various laws to allow our dispatchers to receive the same benefits that all Illinois first responders do.”

Senate Bill 3127 recently passed out of the Senate Licensed Activities Committee and is headed to the senate floor for a vote. If it passes the Senate, it will move to the House of Representatives, where Rep. Swanson will carry the bill in that chamber.

“Dispatchers calm and guide these situations with compassion and competency. We owe them our best efforts to recover and continue their empathetic service,” Swanson concluded.

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