What is the job of a Police Dispatcher?

police dispatcher

Have you ever wondered what the job of a police dispatcher is like? A police dispatch is essentially a service available by the government to people in the US. The primary roles of a dispatcher include:

  • Answering all public calls (emergency and non-emergency)
  • Coordinating with the police department 
  • Arranging the appropriate response to the calls received (based on the nature of the call)

So, a police dispatcher is an employee of such a service. They are the first lines of communication in the public safety profession and are responsible for answering such calls. While on call, they take down all the details, use local databases to get a complete picture of the situation, and transmit these details to relevant police officers and other emergency service workers. As stressful as their job may sound; the police dispatchers are the nameless, faceless voices who are available 24/7 to answer and help the citizens of the United States of America. They are a humble group who serve their communities by being that voice on the other end of the phone to provide hope and relief.

police dispatcher

What skills are required to be a police dispatcher?

Being efficient at the job of a police dispatcher requires one to possess the following skills:

  • Police dispatchers should be empathic yet strong-willed and focused
  • They must have strong organizational skills. The job of a police dispatcher involves listening to available information and organizing their thoughts to quickly and efficiently assesses a situation. 
  • Well versed in providing excellent customer care
  • Strong oral and written communication skills to help them quickly transmit messages and instructions
  • Experience in administrative skills
  • Ability to multitask
  • A police dispatch must also have strong decision-making dexterity. In case of emergency, this helps in offering the best solution to both victims and police officers.
  • Possessing a calm and reassuring demeanor (especially when dealing with mentally or emotionally unstable callers)
  • Part of the job of Police dispatchers is having control over their emotions. Doing so allows them to provide clear instructions to callers and decide the best course of action
  • Understanding the emotions of others and having the desire to help those in need
  • They must also have a firm grasp of how the various components in the dispatch system work

What about the duties and responsibilities of a police dispatcher? 

Some of the primary duties in the job of a police dispatcher include:

  • Playing the role of the first point of contact for people in need of emergency services
  • Communicating with people in distress 
  • Quickly discovering the nature of their emergency and obtain all the necessary details from them
  • Determining the appropriate course of response for each emergency
  • Keeping up to date with the locations of on-duty officers to increase the effectiveness of each emergency response
  • Communicating information with on-duty police officers
  • Monitoring city traffic in their assigned areas
  • Dispatching police patrol in response to calls and events

Education and Training Requirements

The educational and training requirements to become a police dispatcher are quite simple. These include:

  • Getting a high school diploma
  • Passing a civil service test
  • Applying for the position of a police dispatcher and clearing the interview
  • Passing the standard drug test and a psychological evaluation
  • Completing specific training required for the job (as instructed by your respective state)

What about salary?

As with every other job or career, it is equally important to consider the annual salary before deciding to take the job of a police dispatcher. However, the salary of a police dispatcher varies based on their level of experience and education. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a police dispatcher makes around $19 to $23 an hour and can earn anywhere from $26,590 to $63,930 annually. Police Dispatchers can also expect extra benefits, such as bereavement leave, insurance, and employee assistance programs. 

Based on the significant rise in the population and advancement in technology, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has also predicted this sector to grow by about 8% by 2026.

A typical day’s work schedule for a police dispatcher

Police dispatchers typically work a regular 8-hour shift in a government-built communication center. But many work 12-hour or longer shifts. Working overtime, weekends, and holidays is quite common in this job since emergencies can happen at any time. 

To conclude, the job of a police dispatcher is one filled with crisis and comedy. As stressful as it may be, you are bound to come across drunks, theatrics, domestics as well as casualties. But when all is said and done, it is up to you to examine it all with a true lens of compassion, empathy, understanding, and general job survival.

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