CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46) - The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is looking to hire additional 911 Telecommunicator’s. FOX 46 Charlotte went inside the dispatch center to find out what it takes to do the job.
Think you have what it takes to stay calm in high pressure situations? 911 Dispatchers answer as many as 2,500 to 5,000 calls per day.
In the dispatch center at CMPD Headquarters, calls could be heard coming in, “911 Do you need police, fire or medic?”
As the summer heats up the number of calls Telecommunicator’s take increases due to violence and severe weather.
“People are calling because the trees are down, the power is out and that includes accidents, so it just depends on what’s going on in the city,” Jennifer Stewart said, who has worked as a dispatcher for 15 years.
Another dispatcher could be heard asking, “Do you need police ma’am?” A growing number of calls for police, fire, medic and animal control, in a growing city, mean more people are needed to answer.
If not callers will hear this pre-recorded message, “Please do not hang up. This is the 911 Emergency line, the operator will be with you as soon as possible. Your call will be answered in the order it was received. Help will be delayed if you hang up. Please stay on the line. Thank you.”
CMPD is looking to hire at least ten people who are ready to make a difference.
“A dispatcher can have up to 50 officers that he or she responsible for. You have to be able to answer that phone and also, check a warrant or get a wrecker company and you have to do that in a matter of seconds,” said Stewart.
Several dispatchers are leaving to join the Police Academy creating a need for more Telecommunicators. The city is also working to stay ahead of a growing population which translates to an increased number of emergency calls.
Stewart said the job is an exciting one where you get to help people. She said dispatchers work on the front end of calls and don’t get any closure at the end of a call. She said every day dispatchers have to start fresh.
Stewart recalled, “The call that has stuck with me is a suicide call where I had spoke to a mother where her daughter committed suicide and I had to speak to the mother until the officers got out there to let them know that yes her daughter was deceased at that time.”
For a look at the requirements and to apply to become a 911 Telecommunicator, click here!