There is a week set aside every year dedicated solely to show appreciation to the hard-working dispatchers of departments across the country.
National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week began in 1981 and is celebrated the second week of April each year, with this year going from April 14th-20th. This week offers a much-deserved thanks for our dispatchers who perform the most underrated and under-appreciated yet the most stressful and important job in public service.
The term “dispatcher” minimizes their actual job.
A dispatcher is generally the first point of contact, the true first responder, and the unseen hero. A dispatcher’s job is a complicated one. It is exciting, rewarding, fulfilling, and becomes a way of life. It is also stressful, exhausting, thankless, and forgotten by so many.
They are certified Emergency Medical Dispatchers (EMDs) trained to provide life-saving medical instructions over the telephone. As an officer conducts a motor vehicle stop, they are “running” driver/registration background checks so the officers have the most updated information available to ensure their safety. They quickly receive needed information before dispatching the Medic and Fire Engine to a Medical Emergency.
Dispatchers are a rare breed. A good dispatcher can be on a 911 call giving pre-arrival instructions, entering information into the computer, checking on an officer at a traffic stop, running a license plate, all while taking a bite of lukewarm food, and wondering how their sick child is. Dispatchers prove that multi-tasking does exist, and they kick butt doing it!
Show your dispatchers some love, respect and appreciation this week. Take in a flower; a piece of fruit, a card, candy, or just a heartfelt “thank you” would be wonderful. A dispatcher’s job is thankless, and they all deserve this week of recognition and honor.