Honoring Police Radio Dispatchers Week; Thank You to Allie Hansell

Allie Hansell with THE Headset on.
Allie Hansell with THE headset on.

By: Allie Hansell @Alliehans1

Well, this is my very first experience blogging, so please be patient with me 🙂

I was asked to write a little about my job and why I love it. I work as a Police 911 Call Taker and Dispatcher for a small suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia.  I started in this field about 3 years ago and it has been a pretty interesting experience.

Volunteering Leads to Finding Her Passion

My previous job was that of office administrator… it was a lot of paperwork and limited customer service.  It was a job and paid the bills but wasn’t something that I could be passionate about.  I spent my free time volunteering by providing first aid at community events.

It was there that I really found out how much I enjoy helping people when they are having a difficult time.  A friend of mine became a Police Officer and phoned me shortly after he started, telling me that he found the perfect job for me… being a dispatcher.  I decided to quit my full-time, long-standing job for an auxiliary position as a 911 and non emergency call taker.

I have to say, that was a big leap of faith.  I had a mortgage and bills to pay and had to trust that this was the place for me to be and that it would all work out in the end.  I can honestly say that it was the best choice I’ve made.

Challenging Times Sharpen Your Skill

It was a difficult start.  My trainer was one of the hardest ones at the agency that I started with.  She pushed me every day to be the best I could be.  It is a busy agency where you are often putting non emergency calls on hold to take the 911 calls.  Let’s just say, the ability to multitask is a must for the job.  You have several screens and many different programs that are constantly used.

You have the person on the phone talking to you, your dispatcher messaging you or yelling questions at you (when it’s a hot call), all while you are trying to enter the information in a timely manner and find relevant history on the people and households involved.

I’m thankful now that I had the trainer I did because she made me better at the job, and more prepared than others to move into the role of dispatcher.

I became a full-time dispatcher about 2 years ago at a different, much smaller agency.  At most agencies, you are either a call taker or a dispatcher each shift, but at our agency, we do both at the same time.  Let me tell you… it can be very challenging when you have a hysterical caller in one ear, your officers coming over the speaker, your partner providing information to you, putting information in the file and verbalizing it to your officers that are heading to the call!  I think that’s one of the things that I love most about it.

Not for Everyone

Dispatching is a challenging job that is not for everyone. Some days you have people insulting you, cursing you and yelling at you and often times it’s hard to remember that they are going through a crisis or have mental health issues.

The toughest job you'll love.
The toughest job you’ll love.

But at the end of the day, I can go home knowing that I did the best I could for the people who called for help that day.  Some days the difficulty comes from disagreements or personality differences with the officers and other staff.  There are a lot of strong personalities in this field, and we all need to adjust and learn to work together.

I think the reasons I love my job is because it is rewarding, difficult, stressful, frustrating, exciting and satisfying all at the same time. It is an eye-opening experience to work in the field of policing.  I love going to work not knowing what the day will bring.

Making a Real Difference in People’s Lives

I love feeling that I have made a difference in someone’s life, whether it’s that I was able to be a calm voice on the line, that I was able to help an officer by ferreting out information for their file, or if it’s just that I was able to get them help in a timely manner.

I’m lucky enough to work in an exciting environment that has opened my eyes to some difficult realities, but has also provided me with new friends, new confidence in myself, and a pride for my job that I haven’t had before.

Big Thank You to http://www.facebook.com/DiaryOfAMadDispatcher

One thought on “Honoring Police Radio Dispatchers Week; Thank You to Allie Hansell

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