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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I am an aspiring police officer and recently applied for a dispatcher position to gain knowledge and experience in law enforcement. On the application there was a space for additional comments, I wrote "I am an aspiring police officer looking to gain experience in law enforcement". Would this most likely help or hurt my chances of getting this job. Dispatch work does interest me and I would be very eager to learn and take the job seriously, however do not want to lie about my intentions. Any help is greatly appreciated.
thanks
 

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If you wrote that on the application, it may be a statement you want to expand upon in the interview so they know your reasonable about your expectations, know it takes a combination of time, experience, and education/training to advance within the field. Leaving that as it is stated might give the impression your going to begin dispatching and the first day in the door not even think of the dispatching responsibilites and expect a position as an officer.

For example, I have known a few part-time dispatchers that within the first week on the job were itching to be appointed as special officers and work details. Most departments won't make any moves like that for six months to a year during the probationary period. There are the exceptions ofcourse for those that come with experience from other departments, but that is the exception, not the rule. I was lucky enough to start out with a department that hires/promotes from the ranks of their part-time officers and full-time dispatchers, but beforehand sends you through the reseve academy and gets you some basic experience which usually would be a time period of atleast two years or more depending on the gaps in hiring (small department).

Basically, clarify that your not geting too far ahead of yourself. If you prove yourself, are professional and squared away, your time will come.
 

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Your answer is a double edged sword...many departments are having retention problems with communication's personnel. (Just take a look at the jobfile!) There can be nothing more helpful than a good person on the desk. It takes time to train someone to get them up to speed. It SUCKS when they leave! If the boss knows you are going to leave, you may have shot youself in the foot. If I were you, I'd stress that I want to work for the ORGANIZATION, no matter what capacity, with an interest in becoming an officer "down the road".
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
thanks very much for the advice. Im hoping it will all work out, as long as they dont automatically disqualify me from an interview as long as i can expand and explain. thanks again.
mike
 

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Mike,
From what I've come to realize as a dispatcher, is that it is nothing like law enforcement.

I have a crj education, and am pretty farmilar with the basics of law enforcement.
Short of knowing how to better help people with specific questions when they're in the lobby/phone, or just having that "feeling" to send a certain assignment to a call, they are very far from alike. It's great to learn about the LEAPS / WMS computer system, and some police procedure, but that's really not all that much.

Dispatching is all customer service, and little law enforcement. It's great to meet people, read the reports, and see how some things are done. But I dont feel like it hasn't at all prepared me better to become a LEO. It is something great to have on a resueme, but like others mentioned, you're probably going to have better luck doing communications for one department, and trying to become a LEO on another. First, if you're a good dispatcher, they wont want to loose you. They're hard to come upon. Sesond, if you're not a good dispatcher, they already have a bad taste in their mouth, and that's one of the 1,000,000 fatal shots in this 'industry'.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I agree with you in a way, but im not looking for experience as a patrol officer, obviously i cant get that without actually being a patrol officer. Im looking for experience in a department, learning procedures, and how behind the scenes work first. I disagree with you a lot however as far as you saying dispatch is all customer service and police work isnt. As a police officer your main weapon is communication and to better your communication skills, a position in dispatch seems like a good stepping stone into that field. I do thank you for your opinion.
 

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Mike - just a little bit of advice I'll share with you. First and foremost – I don’t think your answer will hurt your chances of getting hired. I think you were honest and that’s a good thing. PD’s know that dispatcher positions are mostly filled with people looking to get on the job. With that being said – you need to remember that being a dispatcher is not the same thing as being an officer. In my opinion it takes a special person to be able to handle the desk properly. Having patience, the ability to multi-task and good communication skills are a virtue when it comes to this position.


Being a dispatcher is one of the hardest jobs in a department, if not the hardest. If you are looking into the position just to "get your feet wet" then make sure you know exactly what you're getting into. Most departments can't keep dispatchers due to the shitty pay, the unmanageable amount of stress and the fact that most people who apply are typically looking to get hired as a police officer not a dispatcher, so in turn their time there isn’t always the longest. From the time you walk into that dispatch console until the time you go home - that desk owns you. If you can not multi-task under high levels of stress - seriously - the job isn't for you. If you're not use to it, it's a hard position to grasp. You are your officers lifeline, a secretary to the public, you've got calls coming in from every other line, you're staring at computer screens for lengthily hours on end, you're in a seat for 95% of your 8 straight hours - not to mention if you're on a double, people are yelling at you just because you're the first person they see and most of the time you're doing all of this at once. Nothing is more stressful then having the phone ringing off the hook, an officer on a call looking for info, LEAPS is down, a party just walked in the station looking to see why they got a ticket and you trying to figure out how to get it all done without having a nervous break down.

Yet on the flip side you will learn a job that most don‘t have the patience for. You’ll gain a tremedous amount of knowlede and experience that will only add to your resume. And when you do become an officer you’ll have more respect for your dispatchers because you did their job and you know what it’s like on both sides of the fence.

I hope this helped – I wish you nothing but the best of luck and I hope you get the job if that’s what you really want.
 

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Chief801...I was trying to provide an answer that stressed "patience" when beginning a law enforcement career, especially having put that on the application and the fact he was applying for a dispatching job and expressing, "I am an aspiring police officer." Again, nothing wrong with having goals, but getting light years of oneself from the start can be damaging in this profession. That was where I was coming from, not trying to mislead. I missed the importance of being part of the "organization", very good point. Your advise is always sound...

Copchika911... that second paragraph should be printed on every application under the description of duties. Maybe under a section titled "reality".

Can't forget being able to talk on two or three phones, the radio, and to the people in the lobby and be able to pick up your conversation with each one exactly where you left off...
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
thanks again everyone for your responses. I was expecting dispatching to be rather difficult, I have quite a bit of public service and multi tasking work behind me so I'm hoping that will help me a little bit. I still am waiting to hear back from the department, hopefully sometime this week. thanks again.
 
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