Police dispatchers take calls for assistance, dispatch one or more units in response, and monitor the location of law enforcement and emergency services personnel. Often they are the first point of contact in an emergency. Police dispatcher training is acquired on the job, and the dispatchers receive pay increases as they complete different segments of training.
Once hired, the dispatcher begins training in the classroom. Structured classes last about 8 weeks, with new dispatchers learning policy and procedure, local geography, the computerized dispatch and radio systems, and emergency management.
New trainees also learn philosophy of law enforcement, stress management techniques, different types of difficult calls, and communication skills.
On the Floor
After classroom training, dispatchers learn hands-on dispatching, more involved radio procedures and map reading, and tracking of officers and other emergency services workers.
The trainees work on different shifts learning to handle calls that are more common at certain times of day.
New dispatchers also ride along with officers to learn how dispatch methods impact officer effectiveness.