Few persons in the police and fire world make as many daily and important impressions as does the Public Safety Dispatcher. They are asked questions that may range in scope from simple directions to technical information on various laws. They may be required to calm a distraught person whose child is choking, attempt to stop a person from committing suicide, or request the specialized services of a doctor or minister all in the span of a few minutes. Public Safety Dispatchers must be multi-tasking and possess many technical skills. They undergo a great deal of specialized training, and must be capable of keeping their emotions under control during emergencies.
Our communications center is currently staffed with one Public Safety Communications Manager, four Public Safety Dispatch Shift Supervisors, and twenty Public Safety Dispatchers. Staffing levels vary depending on the time of day and activity level in the Communications Center. Dispatchers are required to attend a 120-hour academy and receive 24 hours of ongoing training every two years. In addition, they receive 24 hours of emergency medical dispatch training, so that they can give pre-arrival medical instructions to callers.
Public Safety Dispatchers utilize a Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system and are required to type a minimum of 40 words per minute. Each dispatch work station has five computer monitors that dispatchers use in the course of their job. Dispatchers have a wide range of duties that include answering emergency and non-emergency calls, dispatching police and fire units via the radio, entering records information, and providing pre arrival medical instructions.
During 2005, the Escondido Communications Center began receiving wireless (cellular and voice over the Internet) calls. As this technology changes and evolves, so will the ways the public makes contact with emergency services. In 2017, Dispatch answered over 57,000 9-1-1 calls, 143,000 other calls for service, and dispatched approximately 16,000 Fire calls and 54,000 Police calls for service.
Our Public Safety Dispatchers would like to remind everyone that 9-1-1 should only be used to report emergencies and crimes in progress.