The majority of public safety events we report on we first hear on the scanner. The heart of every public safety agency be it law enforcement, fire or ambulance is the dispatch center.
That voice we hear on the radio, dispatching calls to agencies calmly and without hesitation is the same voice you hear when you dial 911. Most job descriptions usually say candidates must have “attention to detail” and be “a great multi-taser”. Those skills are vital for a dispatcher. Your safety and the safety of the agencies they dispatch for depend on it.
We as a community are always quick to thank officers, firefighters, and paramedics for their heroic actions. If you ask the right questions, they will tell you they couldn’t do their job without the dispatcher. The dispatcher answers that frantic 911 call and immediately begins gathering information about the emergency, determines what agencies and how many personnel are needed. Relaying that information to those responding all while trying to keep you calm and further assess the situation and provide you instructions.
They are handling your call, multiple radio channels, and computers all at the same time. And your incident is likely not the only one they are working. Though they treat each one as if it's their only job. They aren’t just dispatchers, they are the calm on your worst day, they are the ones you always hear and rarely see, they are heroes.
April 9th - 17th 2017 is National Public Safety Telecommunications Week, every year in the second Week of April we recognize the men and women who go to work in public safety telecommunications to protect and serve their communities from behind the microphone.