Charlotte, North Carolina-- The Denise Amber Lee Foundation wrapped up its initial Quality Assurance/Quality Improvement (QA/QI) consulting project under its new “QA Every Day” initiative for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department last month. The project was conceived after officials for both the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and the Denise Amber Lee Foundation met at the North Carolina APCO/NENA conference last September in Sunset Beach, N.C.

“I was discussing the possibility of bringing our 8-hour training presentation to their agency with their training supervisor, Joanna Prentice, and the topic of our new QA/QI initiative came up,” Nathan Lee said. “ She told me they were in the infancy phase of developing a new QA/QI program. I told Joanna that we were looking for potential beta sites to launch this program, and that maybe it would interest them to have the foundation QA Director, Sherrill Ornberg, assist them in the development. We met with her Captain, Capt. William Boger, later that day, and we decided it was a perfect match.”

The largest police department between Washington, D. C. and Atlanta, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has over 1800 sworn police officers and around 2,500 total employees. The communications center took over a million 9-1-1 and non-emergency calls last year alone. 

The foundation’s goal with this new initiative is to have a Quality Assurance program in every 9-1-1 center within 5 years. Using the new QA/QI national standard as a guideline, the foundation teamed up with Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s newly hired QAE’s, or Quality Assurance Evaluators, and developed new standard operating procedures for their new QA program.  Lee and Ornberg visited their communications center last month to assist with the role out of the program.

“We were really impressed with Sherrill’s professionalism and knowledge of the QA world, if you will,” Captain Boger mentioned after the visit. “Having her assistance with developing this must needed program in our agency was a godsend. Seeing her and Nathan’s passion for helping our industry was astounding. Nathan’s ability to turn the loss of his wife into something so positive is remarkable."

The Denise Amber Lee Foundation was integral in the development of the new Quality Assurance standard, titled “APCO/NENA ANS Standard for the Establishment of a Quality Assurance and Quality Improvement Program for Public Safety Answering Points.” The foundation had 5 board members on the working group committee, more than any other organization involved. Other public safety organizations represented on the committee were NENA, APCO International, IAED, PowerPhone, and various local PSAPs from across the United States. The working group even had a representative from the Cayman Islands Government Department of Public Safety Communications.

Administrative Supervisor, Joanna Prentice, added this:
“As an agency, we worked with the Denise Amber Lee Foundation when we were rebuilding our division’s Quality Assurance program. It can be challenging knowing where to start. Their guidance and knowledge about the national standard including what the intents were when the standard was developed are beyond compare and helped to guide us through our process. Their passion for the need of this kind of program in every 911 center is born from experience and is contagious. Bringing this knowledge and passion to the table enabled us to develop a program that is based on the national standard and serves our community well.”