University of Houston- Downtown (UHD) students recently attended a tour of the Houston Emergency Center (HEC).
Prior to September 2003, Houston had three emergency communications centers for 9-1-1: Neutral Public Safety Answering Point, Police Department Emergency Communications Division, and Fire Department Emergency Communications Operations. Each agency had separate answering centers, computer networks, and technical support. The development of the state-of-the-art HEC consolidates all of these efforts. UHD Adjunct Professor Nhatthien “Nathan” Nguyen who is also a captain with the Houston Police Department (HPD) sponsored the tour as part of his Criminal Justice class, Police Systems.
While on the tour, the students had a chance to see an HPD helicopter land in the back parking lot of HEC. HPD’s Emergency Communication Division Officer J. Broussard gave a brief history of HEC and its training/safety protocol and operational procedures. Personnel from the 911 center and the Houston Fire Departments also showed the students how emergency calls are taken and dispatched. The Office of Emergency Management’s staff also addressed the students with a brief history of the department and its various operations.
UHD students greatly benefitted from the overall experience and it has generated more interest in the various career paths at available the HEC. HPD Police Recruiter, Officer Mark Slade, also answered any questions regarding the application process.