911 dispatchers - they’re the heroes on the other end of the line when someone calls for help. They work hard and they’re extremely dedicated to an important job.
But right now a number of agencies around the Valley are short on dispatchers and they’re looking to hire.
Team 12 spent some time inside the Phoenix 911 dispatch center to see what it takes to become a dispatcher in action.
Some calls are more serious than others. The dispatcher who answers becomes the calm voice offering help. If you ask 911 dispatcher Tawna Scott, it’s a job that comes with challenges.
“Trying to get information from people over the phone is sometimes difficult,” said Scott. She’s been with the Phoenix Police Department for 12 years. Every call is different but all require patience and focus.
“There was a woman that was found dead behind a dumpster,” she said. “I was still in training, I had to get off the floor for about 15 minutes.”
And sometimes there's a break from serious crime. Scott says she remembers a time when a camel was running down Camelback Road.
That was one of her favorite calls.
“It is so much fun and these people that you work with are all a team, all the time,” said Scott. You can tell she loves what she does.
“You are not just working by yourself, so it’s definitely a support group and if you are going to be doing this… flash cards,” she said.
Scott said flash cards help her remember everything she needs to know while multi-tasking.
She says the long shifts and thousands of calls a day are worth it, to know she’s helping people— some in the darkest time of their life.
“Because you want to help them so badly,” said Scott.
Right now there’s a big need for more dispatchers.
In fact, the Phoenix Police Department is looking to hire 80 dispatchers, along with other agencies in the Valley, including Mesa, Gilbert and Tempe.
For more information visit the Phoenix Police Department's website.