"No matter who we are, what walk of life we come from, when we need emergency help, we all call 911 and rely on the operators and dispatchers who pick up at the other end, to assist us. They direct us on the phone, they direct officers and medical personnel to get to us. They literally protect and save lives wearing a headset." - CSLEA President Alan Barcelona
SACRAMENTO - They don't wear badges, guns, bullet proof vests or duty belts, but you can bet emergency dispatchers and communications operators save lives just as law enforcement officers, firefighters and paramedics do. They do wear headsets, that put them in touch with some of the most distraught or scared individuals who are in dire need of help.
Public safety dispatchers and communications operators are the first responders for those involved in emergencies such as car accidents, plane crashes, fires, and robberies, and physical attacks. Entrapments, rescues, pursuits...they are all in a day in the life of an emergency dispatcher. Public safety dispatchers and operators watch over those who call for help and the officers and emergency personnel they dispatch to respond.
"These are very unique, highly trained individuals who remain calm and focused under pressure, they can't see what is happening, they can only hear," said Alan Barcelona, president of the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA). "They are quick, intuitive, creative thinkers all in an effort to protect and to save lives.”
Emergency dispatchers and call takers have a keen sense of the geographic region they serve. They know communities and neighborhoods, street by street. They know when someone needs to flee or someone needs to stay put. They are the calm in someone's storm.
“CSLEA is well aware of pressure that public safety dispatchers and communications operators are under every single day. It is a lot to deal with and very hard on the body and mind. These professionals need more than a national week recognizing the incredible life-saving work they do as first responders – and that is why CSLEA is once again sponsoring a presumption bill (SB 623) in California’s Legislature to assist with workers’ comp benefits when being diagnosed and treated for PTSD. We fully support our dispatchers and communications operators and thank them for their service.”