A dispatcher recounts a fulfilling 911 call as Phoenix PD begin hiring

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Phoenix Police Dept. hiring dispatchers. (Source: Phoenix Police Dept.) Phoenix Police Dept. hiring dispatchers. (Source: Phoenix Police Dept.)
A dispatcher's career is both fulfilling and fast paced. (Source: Phoenix Police Dept.) A dispatcher's career is both fulfilling and fast paced. (Source: Phoenix Police Dept.)

Police dispatcher Victoria Hamilton still remembers the 911 call she took several months ago, a burglary in progress.

“So we originally had a suspicious person that the neighbor called in. The call we got was from her neighbor and she was saying, 'hey someone is breaking in my house.'... It took a little while to realize that it was the same call. So she was hiding in the back room of her house and you can hear the suspects breaking the window and going in and out of her house,“ says Hamilton.

On the 911 tape, you can actually here the woman describe what is happening in frightening detail. “Oh my god- pounding... Pound... Oh my god... Oh my god... They're busting out the whole window.”

Hamilton says it played out like a movie, “It feels kind of like you are watching a scary movie, because you are hearing the windows break, and you're hearing someone walk in and out and you are like, who is that? What was that? You know?”

But in this movie, Hamilton actually plays a hero. As the 911 dispatcher, she is literally the first person from Phoenix police on the scene. “You are the first person they talk to... that information you are giving is the reason we can catch suspects.”

Hamilton has been on the job for about 15 months. On any given day, she may be keeping victims calm and gathering information to pass on to other dispatchers, or, actually dispatching officers, acting as their eyes and ears before they ever arrive on scene, “you want to get specific information so they know what they are getting into and what they are looking for.”

And she can’t imagine a more rewarding career, “so being there and help somebody, that is my favorite takeaway from the job," said Hamilton.

Right now, the Phoenix Police Department wants to hire others who want to try this career that is both fulfilling and fast-paced, “We are looking to hire about 20 officers right now,” says communications operator Stacie Hanke.

Applicants need some customer service experience, and must be able to type 40 words a minute from dictation, but, other than that will get training. “We are actually trained for 36 weeks,” Hanke says,

And Hamilton adds if you like to help people and stay busy, making this career choice is an easy call. “I didn’t know how busy and fun it was going to be. “

More information about the Phoenix Police communications positions can be found here.

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