The connecting link behind the scenes are Emergency Service Dispatchers.
Lieutenant for the Public Safety Division, Tim Pucci, says, “they may not be on the scene, but they are the very first people that you talk to when there is an emergency.”
The San Angelo Police Department re-vamped their recruiting system and now test civilians every two weeks.
Sgt. Chris Carpenter from the San Angelo Police Department, says, “that way we can keep the numbers up instead of having to wait a month and we didn’t get anybody out of it. Through this continual testing it has been keeping our numbers active and that way we can keep people coming through the process.”
It is more than just a test that these certified telecommunicators have to endure.
“There has to be a background investigation, they have to go through a polygraph examination, psychological examination, they have to meet vearious state requirements in order to fill these positions,” says Lt. Pucci.
Current training takes around eight months which leaves retention rates low.
“Life happens and people need a job, so if something better falls in front of them or being offered to them, well of course they are going to move on to something else,” says Sgt. Carpenter.
Although the job requires certain skills, it also requires them to be mentally and emotionally strong as they deal with people in need.
“The dispatchers have to deal with that emotional trauma that is coming in over the phone, and it can be very taxing. It can be very hard on a person,” says Sgt. Carpenter.
As the support division of all public safety entities in San Angelo, as well as the answering point for all 911 calls in Tom Green County, Lt. Pucci says that these indviduals help save lives.
“It’s really the only job that a civilian can do that can make a direct impact in a positive way for our community other than to do those sworn types of positions,” says Lt. Pucci.
He says being a dispatcher is a rewarding job, and if you would like to join the team effort, you can apply through the cities website.