Dispatcher stress is very common, especially in urban areas where the population is thick and calls for service can be grueling. People are mean spirited and our dispatchers are pawns for our cause. Seldom do our dispatchers receive the recognition they so well deserve and the reason why is because most agencies are busy and I believe the administration forgets the important role the dispatcher take on. If dispatchers are going to maintain their sanity they must have an out and that doesn’t mean the local watering hole. It means, they should receive support from their administration with an ongoing offer to provide professional counseling. You may say to yourself, well stress is all part of the job and they knew that coming in, but in reality the stress level is or can be on a high level and sometimes people can only have so much balance in life.
Now then, there are things you can do to help keep the stress level down and manageable. There is nothing wrong with giving praise where praise is due, what people do not need to hear is negativity. Yes, deputies, officers and the like are faced with negativity nearly every day and sometimes many times during the day. Some simple solutions are to use, “self talk” in order to maintain your own sanity. Meaning, it is okay to tell yourself everything is going to be okay and focus on positive things in life. Yes, people call to report crimes and or perhaps to ask questions mainly because they need some type of help. Well, each of us do our jobs when people coming knocking but what about the mental patients who call and report falsities, this type of behavior can prey on the minds of dispatchers. Meaning, people will prey on the emotions of dispatchers sometimes on purpose or sometimes because they live in a fantasy world. Either way, the dispatcher has emotions as well and their adrenaline goes up and down during their shifts. If you know a dispatcher who appears to be stressed do not be afraid to say something, we must at least offer to help. There is no one answer that will be a fix all but our dispatchers must be honored and kept well, after all they’re our life line and we need them healthy. Please tell us what your department does for their dispatchers.