OTTAWA—On June 23, 2020, the Franklin County Emergency Communications Center in Ottawa received notice that its 911 Emergency Communication Services has become only the second such agency in the state of Kansas to attain status as an Accredited Center for Excellence (ACE).

This distinction places Franklin County’s Emergency Communication Center among the highest-performing emergency dispatch agencies in the world with for its use of the Medical Priority Dispatch System, county officials said.

Emily Stanley, Dispatcher II and member of the Emergency Communications PR Team, said the recognition is a testament of the team’s dedication to give exemplary service to the residents in their coverage area.

"Every single one of our employees contributed," she said. "We are a department that thinks to the future and we are already generating ideas on how to build on this accomplishment. In just 14 months, our department went from not even having a quality improvement program, to obtaining accreditation. We had to work efficiently, communicate effectively and above all, keep ourselves motivated and determined with positivity."

Stanley said the department accomplished their goals, while going through significant changes.

"We had become a stand-alone department," she said. "Our dispatchers wanted to make a fresh start by setting the bar high for the organization. Achieving this accreditation was something that the dispatchers wanted and their drive was fully supported by the director, dispatch manager, medical director, county administrator and the county commission.

"Obtaining accreditation is more than just reaching a goal. It is our center setting a standard for our state dispatch centers. We are a ‘future forward’ thinking center and accreditation is just a step in the ever-changing growth in the dispatch profession. This accomplishment is about setting goals for progressive and innovative development of our department, so maintaining this status is now part of who we are and who we will always be."

The accreditation process required an intensive self-assessment based on the IAED’s rigorous 20 Points of Accreditation. In order to achieve accreditation, agencies had to meet or exceed all 20 points of accreditation, which required participation from the 911 director down to the individual emergency dispatchers, county officials said.

The International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED) Board of Accreditation reviewed the center’s application and documentation of the 20 Points and conducted a thorough on-site visit.

"There’s a tremendous amount of work that goes into accreditation as an ACE," IAED Chair of Accreditation Christof C. Chwojka, said. "We’re certainly proud of Franklin County Communication Center and its accomplishment."

Stanley said the award was not only a milestone for the center, but also a confidence-builder for local residents who call for emergency assistance.

"The trust and relationship that our community has in our center is important for all departments that respond to calls," Stanley said. "We want our community to know that the quality service and support they receive from law enforcement, EMS and fire departments throughout the county, begin with our center. We want to be able to do everything we can, from the other end of a phone, to help our neighbors, friends, families, businesses, residents and visitors in their time of need."