Dispatcher: Professionalism and Crisis Calls [TX]

Course Preview

Course Author(s)

Jim Keaton - Telecommunications Expert to: Police Academies - FBI - Pentagon

Course Summary

Overall General Course Goal(s):
1. The goal of this course to enable participants to understand professionalism and the behaviors and attitudes that create command bearing.
2. This course will discuss the importance of customer service and why it matters.
3. This course covers the salient “must know and be conversant on” techniques every professional 911 emergency dispatcher should be well-trained on and much more.

Learning Objectives:
1. To provide radio dispatchers an understanding of the multiple responsibilities they perform simultaneously with expertise and skill.
2. To help dispatchers understand that each caller may have a different definition of the word “crisis,” and that sudden, arbitrary, and unpredictable events can occur without warning to anyone at any time.
3. To help dispatchers understand crisis calls related to the following types of calls:

  • Suicidal calls
  • Domestic violence calls
  • Mentally impaired calls
  • Juvenile calls
  • Language barrier calls

    911 telecommunications professionals cannot please all of the people all the time, but our actions and attitude can go a long way toward pleasing and meeting the needs of most people. This is the central theme of this course, Dispatcher Professionalism and Customer Service.

    Participants will learn what it means to be a professional and the behaviors and attitudes that create a professional appearance. Dispatchers perform a vital role in law enforcement and it is crucial to learn these guiding principles of professionalism and be able to demonstrate them to citizens. Included in this discussion are ethics specific to dispatchers as well as general work ethics befitting a law enforcement officer.

    The importance of customer service and why it matters also will be discussed. You will learn how to strategically provide customer service, the impact of organizational structure on customer service, and how to avoid the pitfalls of poor customer service. Customer service is critical. Theodore Roosevelt said, “People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

    The professional Dispatcher role is vital to the delivery of public-safety services.

    A Dispatcher’s role is “vital” to the safety and well-being of every officer in-the-field.

    How the dispatcher performs their duties reaches far beyond sending units on calls for service. The dispatcher’s skills help maintain officer safety and serves as a “safety net” in times of trouble.

    The radio dispatcher has multiple responsibilities that must be performed with skill and expertise simultaneously.

    Among them are:

    • Setting the tone. The dispatcher’s tone, volume, inflection, pitch, and word choice all affect how a message is received. Those who sound competent on the radio will be perceived that way, even by officers who do not know them.
    • Communication of information clearly via established protocols in plain English and accepted Signal codes.
    • Controlled use of radio airtime by following the ABC’s of dispatch of being accurate, brief, and clear.
    • Anticipate the needs of field units.
    • Concentrate and eliminate distractions
    • Assist officers and fulfill requests in a prioritized and timely manner.

    This course covers the salient “must know and be conversant on” techniques every professional 911 emergency dispatcher should be well-trained on and much more….

    It is very important to understand that there is no such thing as a routine dispatch call. The attitude that something is routine leads to complacency, and complacency is the enemy of public safety in general and officer safety specifically. 

    A call, no matter how minor it may seem at first, can turn into a disaster within seconds. One of the reasons the public safety profession is so stressful is that you must be ready for the worst to happen at any second. This hyper-vigilance and hyper-preparation can be exhausting, but they are necessary to provide effective service and intervention.

    This course will help dispatchers understand that each caller may have a different definition of the word “crisis.” In general, a crisis is defined as any serious interruption in a person’s usual steady state that results in emotional and psychological turmoil. It is sudden, arbitrary, and unpredictable and can occur without warning to anyone at any time. 

    Public safety’s goal is to provide crisis intervention. Despite what a dispatcher may think is a crisis, if a caller considers it to be a crisis, their body will react as if it IS a crisis. This training will help the dispatcher understand why a caller’s breathing has increased and why the caller may need the same sentence repeated several times, in different ways, until the caller understands what is being asked of them.

    Course Syllabus

    • Module 1 - Dispatcher Professionalism and Customer Service

      • Course Goals and Objectives
      • Introduction by Jim Keaton
      • Guiding Principles of Professionalism
      • Behavior
      • Customer Service and Why it Matters
      • Good Customer Service
      • Effective Customer Service Strategy
      • Pitfalls of Customer Service
      • Module Assessment
    • Module 2 - Dispatcher Radio Techniques

      • Introduction by Jim Keaton
      • Officer Safety
      • Call Control and Dissemination
      • Basic Dispatch Format
      • Radio Terminology
      • Module Assessment
    • Module 3 - Dispatcher Challenging Calls

      • Difficult Calls and Introduction by Jim Keaton
      • Difficult Calls - Continued
      • Suicidal Callers
      • Suicidal Callers - Continued
      • Domestic Violence Calls
      • Mentally Impaired Calls
      • Language Barriers
      • Cell Phone Callers
      • Module Assessment
    • Module 4 - Final Assessment

      • Final Assessment