AB 1945 An act to add Section 8562 to the Government Code, relating to emergency services adds public safety dispatchers and public safety telecommunicators to the list of “first responder” employees. Public safety dispatchers have been historically classified as “clerks.”
“AB 1945 would change that, giving public safety dispatchers and operators the title of first responder for the critical role we have as highly trained public safety professionals who are the first to assist in an emergency,” Brazil said. “This bill is so important to our profession because it finally gives us the title in state law that we took an oath to do, when we became dispatchers.”
No one or group spoke in opposition of the bill. It passed with no objections and moves on to the Appropriations Committee.
“We thank Assemblymember Salas for recognizing the need to support our dispatchers and communications operators with the title they deserve,” said CSLEA President Alan Barcelona. “We know dispatchers are under a tremendous amount of stress as they are the first ones to respond to 911 calls and cries for help. They absolutely save lives and assist during emergencies.”
Brazil is a 23-year-veteran full-time dispatcher at the California Highway Patrol. Prior to that, she worked as a local police department dispatcher for seven years and an EMT/dispatcher for an ambulance company. She assisted Assemblymember Salas in drafting the bill.
“When someone calls 911 for emergency help, I, and any other dispatcher who picks up the line, is thee first responder,” Brazil told legislators. “We deal with an overwhelming amount of stress day to day. Very seldom do we get the final outcome on a call because we move on to the next one and the next one after that. People call me because they are having an emergency, this may be the worst day of their life and they are depending on me to help them and I am trained to do just that.”