Top Comm Center Headlines

SOMA Wearable Tracks First Responders’ Location, Biometrics

“The smartwatch will complement SOMA’s broader “Public Safety as a Service” cloud platform, which includes dispatch, emergency response, data interoperability, and jail management components.” Law enforcement tech specialist SOMA Global has announced a new smartwatch...

Council supports KPD scanner encryption (HI)

LIHU‘E — The Kaua‘i County Council voiced support for the Kaua‘i Police Department’s continued efforts to encrypt dispatch communications. KPD Chief Todd Raybuck said that it’s “pretty common knowledge where our officers are assigned and how many officers we have on...

County Upgrading 9-1-1 Infrastructure (VA)

When an emergency occurs, it's important that calls are sent to the right place and personnel are able to locate those involved. Upgrading 9-1-1 infrastructure can help with these tasks. Prince William County will switch to Emergency Services Internet Protocol Network...

Little Elm eyes mobile command unit (TX)

The town of Little Elm will soon have another tool to help with emergency response. The Town Council on Tuesday approved the purchase of a mobile command center from Farber Specialty Vehicles in the amount of $599,853. According to the town, the 38-foot-long vehicle...

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VIDEO: Combating 911 Dispatcher Burnout (CA)

911 dispatchers have some of the most stressful jobs in the world. They are constantly helping people through the toughest moments of their lives. All that stress can lead to high levels of burnout and turnover. That is bad news not just for the dispatchers, but for...

Good News: 911 Dispatcher Marra Wargo Saved a Choking Dog

911 dispatcher Marra Wargo talks about getting a call about a choking dog and how she was able to talk the owner through performing the Heimlich maneuver on the dog. [VIDEO]

How to 911 with Erica Snyder and Sami Pohl

Sami Pohl and Erica Snyder, dispatchers with the City of Loveland Emergency Communications Center in Loveland, Colorado, discuss their podcast How to: 911, which they use to answer common questions and misconceptions held by the public about emergency services. For...

Emergency Communications | Johnson County Kansas [Video]

Johnson County Emergency Communications manages countywide emergency communications systems and dispatch services. Operations is responsible for the processing of emergency and non-emergency calls for assistance received on E911 (Enhanced 911) and 10-digit phone...

‘It’s just call after call’: California 911 dispatcher – New

With a COVID-19 surge that is killing one person every 15 minutes in California’s Los Angeles County, the 911 emergency medical system has been stretched to the brink. [CLICK READ MORE TO VIEW VIDEO]...

Atlanta’s 911 call center short staffed (GA)

TLANTA - There is a critical staffing problem in the Emergency 911 Communications Center. Director Amanda Pritchett told the Atlanta City Council the office is short by at least 30 people. The number can fluctuate... READ MORE

Customizable, Reliable, Affordable, Secure 9-1-1 solution

A conversation with Darold Whitmer from nga911 about their cloud based solution

Addressing changes Watch now: Bristol, Virginia working to comply with Next Generation 911 system (VA)

Four-and-a-half minutes. That’s how long it took for a Washington County dispatcher to locate an emergency call in 2018 where three bodies had been found in a home near Watauga Road. Confusing addresses, misplaced numbers and duplicate street names can cause...

All Things ECC LIVE – Las Vegas Fire & Rescue

A conversation With Matt Grogan, Communications Specialist, about everything from Route 91 to COVID to Social Unrest and their affect on the Communications Center

Intelligent Scheduling for Safe Cities

A conversation with Greg Kandel and Jason Klink from Informer Systems about automated scheduling for public safety
 

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Opinions

They Have Your Six

Michael Mendoza

No matter the agency, we all have the officer that complains that
we are picking on them. We all know it’s mainly because it’s in their beat or
sector or they are the closest unit. It’s also because we are too busy with pending calls to care if their
feelings are hurt. A few of us make these officers feel our wrath by sending
them from one side of town to the other, fielding every report under the sun.
How many of us are envisioning the officer we want to do that to?

Ultimately, we all want every one of our officers to go home, and
we all want to catch the bad guy and be the best dispatcher we can be for our
residents, right?

In 2010, my agency went through some changes. Uncomfortable
changes I couldn’t get past. My lack of maturity and perspective got me in
trouble, and I decided to leave. A few years went by and I had to grow up. What
I learned was that in the end, the only one that had control over my life and
my future was me. I returned to the career I loved and from that point on I
decided I was going to outlive the BS.

Seven years later, several people in my agency are unhappy and
quitting. Reflecting on my unhappier times, I, like many of my current co-workers,
would project the blame of my problems onto others, believing they’re picking
on me. After this reflection I realized that every time I was acting out or
complaining, I was being the jerk officer grumbling about my dispatcher.

On the flip side, one of our officers will go through calls, clearing
them as quickly as possible, and we seldom hear a complaint. She just does her
job. Unfortunately, we take advantage of this type of officer. Like her, once I
was back in the headset again, I dove in headfirst, going above and beyond with
every opportunity I could. I got overwhelmed. I was doing great at work, but I
wasn’t doing so great at home. At that point, I decided I was just going to dispatch.

As dispatchers we are seldom thinking about the environment that
we are creating for our responders. We’re constantly focused on our duties, forcing
responders to milk calls to take care of their personal needs. That’s the
environment we create. We’re focused on the task at hand and less on the hands
that take care of the task.

We all have a dispatcher in our lives. For some of us it’s a supervisor,
sergeant, or even the dispatch manager. We get frustrated because they don’t
see it from our end. They don’t understand our needs. We fail to realize that they’re
our dispatchers; not literally, but they’re focused on the task at hand and
less on the hand that takes care of the task.

None of this is meant for you to go home and fix everything.

The purpose is for you to have a little more understanding, compassion,
and perspective.

Understand there’s always another motivation but the end goal is
still the same—to give the best service to the citizens that you are there to serve
and protect.  

If you are the employee: You’re not just another butt in a seat, you are someone’s hero and protector. You have their six. Likewise, understand that your supervisor or manager (or whoever) is your dispatcher, and they’ve got your six too.

About the Author

Michael Mendoza is a Texas Master Telecommunicator with over 10 years in the industry and Texas Commission of Law Enforcement (TCOLE) certified trainer.

Our Opinion: The hidden heroes (MO)

We join local law enforcement agencies in celebrating the “hidden heroes” — the telecommunications operators whose behind-the-scenes work is just as important as police you see out on the streets. This week is National Telecommunicators Week, which occurs every year...

Voices Above The Storm

Much has been written about the guardians who serve us daily: the police, fire fighters, and EMS personnel. Their positive contributions to our wellbeing are often profound … and visible. Yet there is another class of sentinels whose contributions are just as...

Your Stories

UNDER THE HEADSET: A Day in the Life

This is the first installment in a series of fictional dramatizations about the trials and tribulations of a public safety telecommunicator. The story is fictional, but the circumstances are real for many employed in public safety communications.

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