Recently, Winbourne Consulting was engaged to help a client address deficiency in its EOP to meet CALEA Standards.
For the Public Safety Communications Center, a CALEA® (Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies) accreditation can be a critical component for an organization that strives to achieve high levels of service and professionalism for its operations. The accreditation process involves a systematic review and internal assessment of operations and procedures, a process that requires the department to re-apply (and re-assess) every 3 years.
There are 207 standards within 7 sections for the CALEA® Public Safety Communications Accreditation Program. The 7 sections are:
- Direction and Supervision
- Human Resources
- Recruitment, Selection, and Promotion
- Critical Incidents, Special Operations, and Homeland Security
Of interest to this discussion is the seventh section. This section includes a requirement to have and maintain an EOP. The standard does not provide the detailed requirements of the plan, only certain specific requirements that need to be covered to address emergency operations including:
- 7.1 Emergency Operations
- 7.1.1 Position for Planning Response to Critical Incidents at Center
- 7.1.2 Emergency Operations Plan
- 7.1.3 After Action Report
- 7.1.4 Operational Readiness
- 7.1.5 Annual Training
- 7.1.6 Accessibility of Plans
- 7.1 Emergency Operations
The CALEA® Standards with respect to the EOP provides the following areas of guidance:
7.1.2 Emergency Operations Plan
The agency has a written EOP for handling critical and unusual incidents. At a minimum, the plan shall address the following:
- risk and impact assessment on operations;
- ensuring the safety of all affected personnel;
- activation of additional communication center personnel;
- continuity of communication systems;
- obtaining additional support and/or resources;
- providing public information and maintaining media relations;
- resumption of normal operations;
- recording personnel time and expenses; and
- documented annual review of the plan.
The EOP for a communications agency should address the safety and security of staff, continuity of operations, and all the requirements listed in the standard. Many components of the EOP will utilize the Incident Command System (ICS) establishing standardized management processes, protocols, and procedures. Planning for continuity of operations should occur on multiple levels and should take into consideration the possible loss of communications systems, i.e., telephone, radio, computer aided dispatch. Annual documented review of the plan should include a verification of available resources.
Most of the content for the EOP is left to the agency to develop. In doing so, the agency should consider the EOP structure/standards from its jurisdiction having authority that might be pertinent. In absence of this, and/or to provide additional guidance, FEMA has developed a Comprehensive Preparedness Guide (CPG) 101 Version 2.0. Developing and Maintaining Emergency Operations Plans. A pdf version can be found at: https://www.fema.gov/sites/default/files/2020-05/CPG_101_V2_30NOV2010_FINAL_508.pdf. This document includes the appropriate coverage and structure of an EOP. It should be noted that some of the requirements in the EOP are addressed in the other subsections within the CALEA® standards, especially in Sections 5, 6 and 7. Additional information on the CALEA® standards for Public Safety Communications Agencies can be found at https://www.calea.org/standards-titles.
As with any critical document, it is essential to continually assess the completeness and accuracy of the EOP. CALEA® reinforces this through its requirements for verification, training, testing, and after-action reports as input to the annual review and update of the plan.
Winbourne Consulting has been serving the Public Safety and law enforcement community for over 20 years, and our subject matter experts have assisted numerous agencies with developing an Emergency Operations Plan.
For additional information, contact Winbourne Consulting at firstname.lastname@example.org.