Working Dispatch

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barlage

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Hey all. My question doesn't really have to do with scanning, but I thought this would be a good place to ask about working dispatch. I've been wanting to do it for awhile now, and think I'd probably be pretty good at it. I've never seen it done, could anyone tell me what it all entails? Is it a fun job to have? It would be for a rural county with just a bunch of little towns, i'd be working FD/EMS, police, etc.
 

pro961

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If you can answer 6 ringing phones lines listen to multiple radio's at the same time, type on a computer and listen to other dispatchers in the room telling you information, "you proabley will be good at it". Oh did I mention you CANNOT make a mistake awhile doingany of this.

I managed a 911 center with combined dispatch for years. Some of my people were very good, some good and some not so good. Some never "got the hang of i"t. With this said, it can be a great, rewarding career. If you get hired , try it. You can always leave, but at least you tried it.
 
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mciupa

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This is stuff is life or death , not something to do on a whim.
Neglecting some details could mean precious time lost and possibly loss of life.

Practice with a friend in a mock situation to see if you are up to it.
Get them to call you and have them say that their house is on fire and there is a person trapped , have them say this frantically(around ten seconds duration) and see if you can get their address and where that person is before they hang up.
 

barlage

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Don't get me wrong, I know the seriousness of it. I'm asking now before I try it to see what you guys say first.

It may be different in different places, but are you typing everything that is said on the radio or on the phone? I can type decent, but not lightning speed, how much will that hurt? I'd almost rather write down numbers like plates, license #s, addresses as they're told to me rather than type.
 

hoser147

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What more could a Scanner hobbyist want. Go for it, you will do fine. It can be a pretty active county, like this AM..I sent you the info for the archive. Good Luck
 

texasemt13

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Go for it...

I say go for it-

First off, it's not like on your first day they sit you with your cup of coffee at the console and say "Okay- if you have any questions ask Bill." As far as I know (at least in Texas) you have to get a public safety communications certification. So besides the training received in that program you'll get plenty of in-depth, department specific training at the center itself before being thrust in to the "hot-seat."

As for the actual job, it can make or break a situation. The last thing an LEO/Medic needs is a frantic dispatcher. Nerves of steal are a must and the rapid dissemination of information (from multiple sources), while broadcasting in a clear voice is a biggie.

Everyone here can tell you about unprofessional and bad dispatchers. Everyone here can also tell you their favorite and most professional as well. Hope you turn out to be the latter.
 

DonnieDog

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Good luck if this is a field you want to try. Ive done it for almost 10 years and enjoy it still to this day. Dont get me wrong, the place gets on my nerves sometimes but all in all.......its all good. Let me know if I can be of any help to you.
 

W6KRU

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I don't know if the OP is going to see these posts or not since that thread is almost a year old. But in case he does, I'll throw in my .02. Try to remember to speak into the mic. We have one dispatcher here that has a bad habit of forgetting this and sometimes her audio gets awfully low. I couldn't begin to count the times I have heard an officer tell her she has very low audio.
 

n6tgk

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I don't know if the OP is going to see these posts or not since that thread is almost a year old. But in case he does, I'll throw in my .02. Try to remember to speak into the mic. We have one dispatcher here that has a bad habit of forgetting this and sometimes her audio gets awfully low. I couldn't begin to count the times I have heard an officer tell her she has very low audio.
It goes both ways...in Hillsborough County, we had deputies who would leave the mic in the clip on the center console. If they had the stereo on, I usually heard that better than I could the deputy so I'd have to ask them to repeat.
 

W6KRU

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It goes both ways...in Hillsborough County, we had deputies who would leave the mic in the clip on the center console. If they had the stereo on, I usually heard that better than I could the deputy so I'd have to ask them to repeat.
Deputies listening to the stereo? I can't even picture that.
 

newsphotog

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Good luck getting a government job these days. I went to apply last December for an open position at a metro consolidated dispatch center. I was one of over 250 that applied for a job. Only the top 20 who passed the CAD test (CritiCall) would move on to the next round (oral boards). I scored 90% on CritiCall and I didn't get to move on to the next round. That speaks volumes for how competitive it was.

During the application stage (the very first stage) they played some 911 tapes. They made you sign a release form -- not for privacy, but a release saying the city is not responsible for any mental stress the 911 tapes could cause. Anyone who walked out of the room during the tapes were automatically disqualified from applying. A few walked out. The city was trying to weed out the applicants who couldn't handle it. To be honest with you, I almost burst out laughing during one of the tapes. That's just the way the job is though.

I heard an applicant ask the dispatch center director if a lot of people quit because they can't handle the job stress. She said she loses more people to retirement than to stress.

The application process is very time-consuming. The city wants to make sure they hire the right person for the job. There's nothing worse for them than hiring a person, sending them to 18 weeks of training at the law enforcement academy, and then you get on the air and you realize you can't handle it. Be prepared for a very time-consuming application process. It took me an entire month from the day I dropped my application off, to orientation, to testing, and finally the day I found out that I couldn't move on to oral boards. And then take into account the first round of oral boards, the second round of oral boards, and accepting the job if they offer it to you. It's a long time to wait to see if you will be employed.

Good luck to anyone who applies for the job. It's definitely a job that will stick with you for the rest of your life.
 

Matt93

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I recently took a trip to my county's communications center and saw first hand how it was done. I learned it can be a very stressful job at times. You need to be able to multi-task if you will. Phones ringing, typing, pressing those pager tone buttons, it's all in a days work. I am also interested in the job. Good luck!
 
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