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WA Department Joins Regional Dispatch Center

Spokane firefighters no longer have their own communications center. Nov. 1—After years of resistance from the firefighters union and the City Council, Spokane has joined the regional emergency communications system that answers every 911 call made in the county. READ...

Changing technology drives upgrades to 911 (LA)

What’s next for 9-1-1?Natchitoches Parish has a state-of-the-art facility, well trained dispatchers and staff and an excellent call answering record. So what is next?In this age of constantly changing technology, the 911 NATCOM center must keep up to ensure the...

Inaugural Community Police Academy Graduates – (NY)

On Oct. 26, 18 members of the campus community graduated from the first Department of Public Safety (DPS) community police academy. The academy is a free four-week program designed to give students, faculty and staff an idea of what it is like to protect and serve the...

SPD announcing changes to processing of 911 calls (WA)

All calls for emergency services (Police, Fire, EMS) are processed through a unified communications center. The communications center houses both Spokane Regional Emergency Communication employees (SREC) and SPD dispatchers. The change comes as both SPD and SREC seek...

K-State Police Department adds advanced 911 system | (KS)

The K-State Police Department went live with a new Next Generation 911 system on Tuesday, Oct. 18, and became the 105th Public Safety Answering Point to do so, Jason Blackburn, KSU Police Department communication operations coordinator, said.  “It is advanced...

Local dispatcher gets statewide award (ID)

SANDPOINT — Amber Lindsey originally wanted to be a police officer. An injury derailed those plans prompting her to switch her plans to dentistry. It was then a friend told her about a position at Bonner County Dispatch. Lindsey, then 20, got the job where she has...

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911 dispatcher calls Chicago a place that ‘caters strictly to criminals who target the innocent’ [VIDEO] (IL)

From CBS CHICAGO on 05/16/2022 | 911 dispatcher Keith Thornton Jr. calls Chicago a place that 'caters strictly to criminals who target the innocent'. Thornton is the 911 dispatcher praised for how he coordinated the response the night officers Ella French and Carlos...

Baldwin 9-11 dispatcher honored for saving life of Summerdale mayor [VIDEO] (FL)

Brentwood Celebrates National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week (TN)

The City of Brentwood and the state of Tennessee are celebrating this week as it is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. The week, sponsored by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International and celebrated annually, honors the...

Dispatcher Appreciation Week: An inside look at Nampa Police’s 24-hour service (ID) For 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 911 dispatchers are on the job answering calls for help in emergencies. "We're here to answer the calls when you're having your worst day," said Jazmine Eguia, an Emergency...

What is a Telecommunicator? (FL)

April 10 through April 16 is #NationalPublicSafetyTelecommunicatorsWeek. Held every year during the second week of April, #NPSTW is a time to recognize telecommunications personnel in the public safety community for their service and commitment to the profession....

RPD Celebrates 911 Dispatchers (TX)

RICHARDON POLICE DEPARTMENT Video Link: The Richardson Police Department is celebrating 911 Dispatchers during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week (April 10 – 16.) We say thank you to these special first responders, who answer...

Hobart dispatcher wins Australasian award after life saving emergency response [VIDEO] (Tasmania) A Tasmanian emergency dispatcher has been honoured for his calm handling of an incident involving a 69 year old man who cut his leg with a power tool...

A look Inside Durham’s 911 Call Center: Dispatcher Dwayne McIntire (NC)

Meet #Durham911 Dispatcher Dwayne McIntire, who shares more about his career serving in our Durham Emergency Communications Center. Watch for more videos coming soon in our series as we talk about the work, the challenges, and the rewards of serving in the Bull City....

Shortage of 911 operators impacts Midlands mother (SC)

ABC NEWS– Right now, there’s a critical shortage of 911 operators all across the nation. With roughly 240 million 911 calls coming in every year, some cities are missing up to half their usual dispatchers. This means some emergency calls are going unanswered,...


Beyond the Comfort Zone

Samantha Hawkins Every 911 operator has that call that will demand more of them than usual … this was mine. I was the second 911 operator she had spoken with that morning. Only six minutes into our phone conversation on that 911 line, I had determined that she very...

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.

Your Stories

Why Me to Represent Some of You?

By Lee Ann Magoski...

Why Me to Represent Some of You?

By Lee Ann Magoski...

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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