EMC061 – The Command Bill of Rights

This information is pulled from ACS Bulletin EMC061 “Command Bill of Rights, originally released 16 Jan, 1997.

While the presentation is old, the information is just as pertinent today as it was back in 1997.  As a volunteer, you need to keep the following information in mind.

As a Communications Volunteer, you especially need to keep Item #4 Top-of-Mind during all events.  You represent the event you are working, be it ARES, RACES, a March of Dimes walk, etc.

The Number One Rule you need to keep in mind: Don’t embarrass the organization you represent!

By Dave Larton, N6JQJ, State ACS Training Officer and Webmaster; 911 Dispatcher with City of Gilroy

Much has been said in these bulletins, and elsewhere, of the “Volunteer’s Bill of Rights,” or, how volunteers expect to be treated. When volunteering, remember that the people you work for have a similar list of items that they expect from you. The following is condensed from a Basic Hostage Negotiations class taught recently in the Bay Area by Ray Birge, a former SWAT Commander with the Oakland, CA Police Department. They apply very well as basics that every volunteer should keep in mind, especially when working for a higher authority:

Command Bill of Rights:

    1. Give me options. The more options I have as a commander, the more of an informed decision I will be able to make.
    2. Don’t destroy my career. Give me options that follow the rules, policies or procedures of my department.
    3. Promote dynamic tension. Play the devil’s advocate when giving me options. What will happen if I follow this idea? What might occur if I don’t follow the idea?
    4. Look Intelligent. Bring the proper equipment. Be prepared. Act the role you are supposed to be playing. Remember, people are watching all of us at all times.
    5. Be prepared to train the boss. Many times, the commander is the least informed of the entire team, yet he has to make some of the most crucial decisions. Give the boss the background as generally as you can. Be neutral.
    6. Keep me informed at all times. Don’t hold any information back, no matter how trivial; it could prove to be extremely important later on.
    7. DON’T BREAK THE RULES! Should you elect to take a course of action that may potentially break the rules, let me know about it BEFORE you do it and get my OK! Remember Rules #2 and #3 above.

All volunteers benefit from adhering to these seven rules as your supervisor is counting on you to follow them.


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