Friday, December 29, 2006

Putting Out Call for All Dispatchers!!

Putting Out Call for Dispatchers

BS Ranch Perspective:

I am mostly partial to that of Rialto Police Department, so the report that the Dispatchers are wanted at the County are one thing, but I can tell you that the Dispatch Center at Rialto Police Department pays a lot better then that of the Dispatch Center for the Sheriff's Department, so I guess once again they are in competition to get Employees and workers, but they are not fighting over a contract that the City Council will or will not sign. The Dispatchers at Rialto make about $1.00 to $2.00 more an our then that of the Sheriff's Dispatcher's, but you are dispatching for a larger area. The dispatchers at Eagles Nest don't get to know or even in some cases get to see the deputies that they are Dispatching for, especially for those that are in Chino Hills, etc etc... It makes it harder to get attached or to place a face to that voice.

Rialto you will get to see the person that you work with every day, you will know their personality and quite a bit about their family it is a tight knit family at the City of Rialto's Police Department, and Dispatch Center. They just hired a new Chief, Mark Kling and he is a great guy, one of the best Chief's that Rialto has had for a long time, or at least he seems to be that way. I don't know that much about him but he seems to be nice.

Well, it looks to be that time that the Dispatchers war is up and upon us, and if you see this BLOG, and you are thinking about becoming a Dispatcher be one at Rialto, where it is much more of a challenge, The Sheriff's Department is like retirement compared to what Rialto is concerned.

Think about it!



Putting Out Call for Dispatchers

Police groups offer perks to new hires
10:00 PM PST on Sunday, November 26, 2006
The Press-Enterprise

When anyone calls 911, someone answers -- night or day, holiday or weekday.

William Wilson Lewis III / The Press-Enterprise
Lt. Mike Newcombe is in charge of theSan Bernardino County sheriff's communication center in Rialto. Ashortage of dispatchers has prompted agencies to offer incentives tonew hires.

Some Inland agencies are finding it more difficult to filldispatching positions and have started using incentives and other waysto recruit and retain their employees.

The competition between agencies for qualified candidates hasagencies adding more to these packages, said Chris Hinshaw, presidentof the California chapter of the National Emergency Numbers Association.

The Riverside County Sheriff's Department is now offering a bonustotaling $16,000 paid over five years. That includes $800 paid uponhiring.

"We need to stay competitive with the market around us," said Tom Freeman, executive officer with the agency.

The Riverside Police Department started an incentive program inOctober where new hires received a $1,000 signing bonus and $1,500after a probationary period plus $2,500 after two years, said spokesmanSteve Frasher. Since then the agency has had five of the new hires stayon.

Up the freeway, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Departmentrecently had 210 people apply for their 24 available positions, saidLt. Mike Newcombe. Incentives help increase the pool of applicants, soafter hiring for the 24 spaces they also had some qualified candidatesthey may turn to when new positions open.

"Then they come on board and say, whoa -- this is not anything likewhat I expected," Newcombe said. "It comes down to saving lives, andthat's a lot of responsibility."

Statewide, dispatch centers have about a 40 percent attrition rate,said Alan Deal, bureau chief in training program services forCalifornia Police Officer Standards and Training.

Depending on the agency and years on the job, dispatchers can makebetween $14 per hour and $29 per hour. Locally, the mean salary fordispatchers in 2006 is $17.71 hourly, according to the CaliforniaEconomic Development Department.

William Wilson Lewis III / The Press-Enterprise
Karlee Remender, left, a dispatcher at the communications center in Rialto, trains Jessica Lopez.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Valley Communications Center inRialto takes about 51,000 calls per month under Newcombe. About halfits staff of 80 takes incoming calls and the others relay the calls tothe deputies.

Joni Hickman sits in front of five computer screens, has three micefor them and uses a foot pedal to answer the phone. She dispatchesdeputies in of Loma Linda, Highland and San Bernardino sheriff'sterritory.

After 16 years, she said the steady paycheck remains good work forsomeone without a degree. While the position does not require one, itdoes call for an ability to multitask, deal with extremely emotionalsituations and think on your toes.

Jessica Lopez has been training at the center for about three weeks.She wanted to work in law enforcement and help others so she took thetwo required classes so she could be a dispatcher.

For her training, she'll work with another in-call taker for a fewmonths before going solo. She's been sitting with Karlee Remender tolearn the skills.

Remender's been with the Sheriff's Department for about a year andsees it as a viable long-term career. In that time she's been mostsurprised by the misuse of the 911 line, such as people calling toreport past crimes, tying up the emergency-only line. She also lovesthe people she works with and the camaraderie in the center.

"In the end we're all working to do the same task so there's a lot of teamwork," Remender said.

The state keeps training agencies on how to better keep and recruitdispatchers, from streamlining the hiring process to finding ways towork with employees' needs.

"It has more to do with the economy than anything else," Deal said. "There are more job vacancies than people to fill them."

New technologies have made for more challenges for each agency andmore information for dispatchers to learn. In the past year, many localagencies have started accepting 911 calls made from cellular phones.New phones provide the dispatchers with the latitude and longitude ofthe call and they use that to help find an address.

Previously the California Highway Patrol handled all those calls.Now calls are divided according to the cell towers that broadcast them;signals from towers serving portions of the freeways are the CHP'sresponsibility and the others go to the local city or county lawenforcement agency.

The Riverside County Sheriff's Department is working on an agreement to begin taking the cellular 911 calls, Freeman said.

While most of those calls would have gone to the local agencyanyway, what they've mostly noticed is an increase in abandoned oraccidental calls. And the technology will keep changing. Agencies havefigured out how to handle homes that use an Internet-based phonesystem, Voice Over Internet Protocol, and now they see wireless VOIP onthe horizon.

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