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  • Dispatcher position

    I know that being a 911 Dispatcher can be very stressful. Do any of you LEO's know what the turnover rate or burnout rate is? I've given serious thought to doing it, but I really want to be a cop. I just don't know if I could really stand sitting there for 8 hours staring at a computer screen. I think I'd go nuts. I just thought I'd kind of see what I was really getting myself into in case I go that route.

  • #2
    If you want to be a cop, dispatching isn't close, it's not a bad job, but not the same. Your not out there getting the bad guys, your not sure of whats REALLY going on. If you want to be a cop, then go for it, don't second guess yourself.
    You have the right to remain silent, but apparently you lack the skill to exercise that right.


    • #3
      Dispatching at a busy agency is much more stressful than being a cop. It has a high turnover because of the low pay, and lack of job mobility. It's a good stepping stone and a fun job. It's not a career.
      Get low, get ground, get tactical! Sprawl! Sprawl! Sprawl!


      • #4
        It's what you make of it. You can sit there and be ****ed that you're busy, or you can do your job well and enjoy it. You're the officers life-line.
        -Stay safe


        • #5
          Check your PMs.

          (I'm unsworn LEO Staff)
          "The statements and opinions contained in this communication do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Commission regarding these issues."

          Justice for Officer Daniel Faulkner
          09/11/2001 Never Forget


          • #6
            Originally posted by nobody33 View Post
            Dispatching at a busy agency is much more stressful than being a cop. It has a high turnover because of the low pay, and lack of job mobility. It's a good stepping stone and a fun job. It's not a career.
            I agree with part of what you said. I was a dispatcher for 4 1/2 yeard before becomming a police officer. My stress level is lower now than it was before. I think that has to do with our "A" type personalities as police officers.

            As for it not being a career, I strongly disagree. My wife has been in dispatch for 15 years. She is now a captian and runs the midnight shift. She has made a career out of it.
            10-8 like a shark in a sea of crime. (SgtScott31 jacked this from me, I had it first, but no hard feelings.)


            • #7
              If you want to be an officer be an officer. I know a few who have transitioned from dispatch to patrol, but most dispatchers don't have the desire to be an LEO. It is one of the toughest, underpaid and underappreciated jobs on the dept. A good dispatcher is worth their weight in gold.


              • #8
                Dispatching can be a stepping stone, as I was a 911 operator/dispatcher before becoming a cop. It is a foot in the door and will give you familiarity with terminology, policies, etc.

                It can be stressful and you have to be able to multi-task and prioritize very quickly. Turnover is kind of odd from what I saw. New people don't last long, but once you people hit a year or two they tend to stick around long term.

                As far as pay, it varies widely. You may be in the low $20,000/yr for a small agency or you may start in the low $40k range for a larger agency within a couple of miles. It all depends on union representation, agency budget, work load, etc.

                If you want to be a cop, go for it, but don't overlook a dispatcher position in the short term if you want to get your feet wet.
                I miss you, Dave.


                • #9
                  I was looking into a dispatcher position that was available last spring at the dept. I am currently working with. The dispatcher supervisor spoke with me, discovered my intentions to become a LEO and promptly told me they would not normally consider people that planned to be police officers. I told her that she was missing out and I declined in accepting the job offer. A year later, I'm at the same dept. as a LEO and I couldn't be happier.


                  • #10
                    I would also have to say that Dispatching is indeed a career, it is not a "job". I've been doing it for 9 years and won't do anything else.

                    Stress is a big part of doing it. Currently new hires are only lasting about 3 years before they quit. That is a nationwide figure. Working environment and the quality of the agencies training are the biggest factors in turn over. Pay actually isn't that big of a factor. Pay has gotten better at many agencies that are proactive in taking care of their Dispatchers.

                    From a personal and professional point of view, doing dispatch then becoming an officer creates well rounded officers that respect the other side of the radio and thusly have a better understanding of it. From an administrative point of view, it costs tens of thousands of dollars to train new Dispatchers, if they know you plan on leaving in a few years they simply don't want to put the time and money into a short timer. It's just a budget thing.

                    Someone once told me that time is a predator that stalks us all our lives. But maybe time is also a companion who goes with us on our journey, and reminds us to cherish the moments of our lives because they will never come again


                    • #11
                      i personally enjoy it- at least at the moment. our department has a 2-3 month training process which I was just released from- and Ive had a few high-stress calls- but its part of it. It is not anything like being an officer- but if I was to continue as an officer out at the department I'm at- Ive already got about 1/3rd of the FTO process behind me- the radio and earning the roads (as well as jurisdictions) is a large part of an officers job.

                      Its easily not for everyone. You got to be able to handle lots of multitasking- sometimes Ill be the only one in dispatch (though our department requires at least two in dispatch at all times). and Ive already had the stupid civil calls right up to a Mexican that was shot and didn't know English. A week or two ago I had a guy who was actively in the process of getting his --- kicked while he was talking to me.. kinda weird to Liston to that one. And you got to be able to understand many dialects.

                      When I leave it wont be for another unrelated job, or being fired- it will be when I'm ready to proceed to an officer job. I actually enjoy dispatching to a degree.

                      Where else do you legally get to see the dirt on the bad guys 8) (or future potential coworkers) once in a while and also get first-in-line knowledge of stuff that is being released to the public. The wildfires here in Florida is a good example of that- the city I'm at is front line to the fires- and every morning the forestry guys would come in and give us detailed updates.

                      BUT there are dispatching centers for other departments thats nowhere near as fun- ours lets us do what we feel we need to do- I know of one department close by that they actually passed a memo that stated to the dispatchers that they were not allowed to laugh while working. (wtf??).. they could not leave their seats except for lunch, cant laugh, they don't have windows to look out of, they cant eat or drink anything except when they go to lunch. They are missing alot of freedoms- and Id not work there. So allot of how it is depends on the agency. Some can be hell and some are great- and it often just depends on what you feel you want to do.

                      Also- lots of departments like to have their officers work in dispatch for a month or even 6 months just as part of the FTO- i know some in GA that do this.
                      Last edited by Malaru; 05-20-2007, 09:35 AM.
                      Status: Online 26% of the time
                      Updated on: 12/28/09


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