Chesapeake Seeking Volunteer Dispatch Call Takers

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Don_Burke

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CHESAPEAKE – The Chesapeake Police Department is seeking volunteers to work in its Dispatch Center. The Volunteer Dispatch Call Taker position is open to citizens who wish to dedicate a minimum of 16 hours a month (after training) with the police department.

The Department is seeking highly motivated individuals interested in answering emergency and non-emergency calls in the Chesapeake Emergency Dispatch Center. There is no prior work experience required and individuals selected for this volunteer position will be trained as Dispatch Call Takers.

“This is an opportunity for citizens to become involved in the intricacies of the Police and Fire Department,” said Police Chief Kelvin Wright. “The work of the dispatcher is fast-paced and rewarding because they are the first people citizens speak with when their needs are most urgent.”

Volunteers will be required to pass a pre-employment process similar to that of full time employees to ensure qualification standards are maintained, including a specialize typing/skills test, a background check, a drug screen and a polygraph. After the pre-employment process, applicants will attend training for fourteen (14) weeks, which will be held two nights per week for 4 hours and every other Saturday for 8 hours. The first Volunteer Dispatch Call Taker School is scheduled to begin September 15, 2008.

To find out more about the requirements of this volunteer position or to complete an online application, interested individuals are encouraged to log onto the City of Chesapeake’s website at www.jobs.CityofChesapeake.net or call Dispatch Supervisor Melody Embry at 382-6820.
 

OceanaRadio

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Don,

Chesapeake could accept volunteers from the Salvation Army homeless shelters and do better than their paid employees. From the film crew that got a peek at the dispatchers some time ago after one of their latest bumbled calls that nearly or did cost a life, it appeared the call-takers were more interested in chowing-down and doing their nails than dispatching police and fire.

Jack
 

Don_Burke

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Don,

Chesapeake could accept volunteers from the Salvation Army homeless shelters and do better than their paid employees. From the film crew that got a peek at the dispatchers some time ago after one of their latest bumbled calls that nearly or did cost a life, it appeared the call-takers were more interested in chowing-down and doing their nails than dispatching police and fire.

Jack
I call the six largest cities in Hampton Roads twice an hour during morning drive.

There are three cities with call-takers I would bash on before I got to Chesapeake's.
 

N4VKF

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volunteer dispatchers

I don't like that idea. What you need are dedicated professionals taking your calls. If you are recruiting from areas like citizen police academies you are only opening yourself up to problems with volunteers. I can see problems with officer safety and EMD problems. Are they handling emergency or non emergency calls?
 

Don_Burke

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I don't like that idea. What you need are dedicated professionals taking your calls. If you are recruiting from areas like citizen police academies you are only opening yourself up to problems with volunteers. I can see problems with officer safety and EMD problems. Are they handling emergency or non emergency calls?
I am expecting to hear them on the non-emergency lines.

I often get the "all non-emergency call takers are busy" message when I call Chesapeake.

Perhaps they will use it as a farm system for dispatchers and emergency call takers. That is what I would do.

Now if Virginia Beach could get their information office fully staffed...
 

John

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I call the six largest cities in Hampton Roads twice an hour during morning drive.

There are three cities with call-takers I would bash on before I got to Chesapeake's.
Being involved with a 911 center for the last 5 years, I can say the dispatchers and call takers have one of the hardest working and least understood jobs in America. They have to be familiar with the laws and medical and fire incident handling in addition to knowing the policies and procedures of every department they dispatch for. They are expected to know the answer to everything almost instantly and get little respect from their collegues in the field (police and fire). Not to mention the citizens that cuss and abuse the calltakers and take out all their frustrations about the police and fire department policies as well as life in general on them. All things the call taker can generally do nothing about.

Maybe if everyone didn't feel like they had to call in every person driving without a seatbelt or car seat or everyone they get mad at while driving (can you say Road Rage) then the call centers wouldn't be so overwhelmed and could actually better handle the true emergencies. Not to mention the much talked about abuse of the EMS system.

Yes, call takers may not all be super-motiviated but believe me they burn out quickly due to all the abuse they have to absorb.

And for the life of me I can't understand why anyone would have to call 6 dispatch centers twice an hour while commuting... can you explain that comment please?

As for the comment about them always eating, maybe you should consider what you would do if you were stuck sitting in the same seat for 12 hours or more with almost no break. Believe me it can be tough.
 

OceanaRadio

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As for the comment about them always eating, maybe you should consider what you would do if you were stuck sitting in the same seat for 12 hours or more with almost no break. Believe me it can be tough.
Thanks for your insight. Speaking for Don on one case, we have both stood more than a few 12hr watches on the same submarine, although the normal rotation was 6hrs. I 've done a few for the CG where comcen watches are 12hrs. Personally I think that's too long, but it became the standard a long time ago and is what it is.

Jack
 

n5ims

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And for the life of me I can't understand why anyone would have to call 6 dispatch centers twice an hour while commuting... can you explain that comment please?
One possibility may be someone working for as a traffic reporter. While you can get some info through scanners and highway cameras, often the only way to get good, reliable information is by calling the non-emergency dispatch number. After establishing a relationship with them, they will quickly and accurately relay important information.

Some information, such as "the accident at 4th and main should clear in about 5 mins" or "that gas main break on 23rd Ave will last for several hours" is difficult, if not impossible, to get any other way.

The original statement did say "during morning drive" not "while commuting" after all.
 
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LEH

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And for the life of me I can't understand why anyone would have to call 6 dispatch centers twice an hour while commuting... can you explain that comment please?
I understand the burn out, especially when you are running shifts like 3 days of 0700-1500, then do 3 days of 2300-0700 and then 3 days of 1500-2300 and get 3 days off before starting it all over again (what City of Tucson worked when I applied there many years ago).

As to Don calling 6 centers twice and hour. If memory serves me correctly, he works for one of the broadcast companies in the area and is gathering traffic report info for the stations.

Not all stations have an eye or two in the sky (though our area does have 'Metro Traffic' flying around reporting back to their center) and one TV station has their 'chopper' up during rush hour, they listen to scanners and call the state and local departments for updates.
 

Don_Burke

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John said:
And for the life of me I can't understand why anyone would have to call 6 dispatch centers twice an hour while commuting... can you explain that comment please?
The only explaination I can come up with for your comments is that you are a functional illiterate.
John said:
As for the comment about them always eating, maybe you should consider what you would do if you were stuck sitting in the same seat for 12 hours or more with almost no break.
That comment was by someone else, but, in your bungling, you have attributed it to me.

For the record, I have been there and done that.

I did my job.
John said:
Believe me it can be tough.
Save your bits. I believe nothing you have to say.
 

tglendye

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Don,

...it appeared the call-takers were more interested in chowing-down and doing their nails than dispatching police and fire.

Jack
What, ya'll don't have internet in Chesepeake?:lol:

...
Maybe if everyone didn't feel like they had to call in every person driving without a seatbelt or car seat...
I don't care if anyone chooses not to wear their seatbelt... hey, no skin off my back so to speak. But you bet I'll call if I see an unrestrained child.

I know most of the description of the job you gave is accurate and it is not an easy job. But never the less it is part of the job. If you have problems with your job, perhaps it's time for career change.
 

Don_Burke

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tglendye said:
What, ya'll don't have internet in Chesepeake?:lol:
They might not have internet in the box. I have not been in the dispatch center in Chesapeake and just did a brief walk-by.

In any case, what they do to keep themselves awake when things are slow is of very limited interest to me.
 

WA4MJF

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Well, Chesapeake has relied on volunteers forever, even when it was South Norfolk and Norfolk County.
I was an Officer in the Western Branch Volunteer Fire Company (LT) for a time and also an Auxilary
Police Officer. Chesapeake tried the Public Safety approach, but it did not pan out, just as it failed in
Durham, NC our model. Glad to see that Chesapeake is getting back to its roots.

To keep it RR related, we used the ole Plectron tube type alerting receivers back in those days.
 
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