Public Safety Dispatcher Program Celebrates New Graduates

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long beach police dialogue with communityOn Wednesday, March 30, 2011, the Long Beach Police Department gained three new employees who graduated from the Department’s yearlong Public Safety Dispatcher training program.

A graduation ceremony recognizing the new dispatchers, Jennifer De La Torre, Kimberly Hodgden, and Leilani A., was held at the Emergency Operations Center at 2990 Redondo Avenue in Long Beach. Family, friends and coworkers attended the event, which highlighted the dispatcher’s accomplishments.

The three began the process as dispatcher recruits about a year ago, after passing an extensive background investigation, followed by months of rigorous training and testing regarding Police policies, procedures, codes, equipment, and city geography. The dispatchers are also trained to process after-hour Public Works emergencies, to use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), the L.B.P.D.’s Safe Reunion/Long Beach emergency locator service, Reverse 9-1-1 System, and other programs as well. In addition, the recruits also learn to differentiate between civil and criminal issues, understand caller psychology, and prepare officers for the often-dangerous crime scenes they respond to.

Dispatcher recruits are required to receive 120 hours of state-mandated training and, in addition to taking calls, they also must master the use of the radio. This requires reading, typing, and speaking simultaneously while processing crucial information to officers in the field.

“Public Safety Dispatchers are the lifeline for the officers as well as the community which they serve. We are here today to celebrate the accomplishments of our new dispatchers who will provide that crucial link,” said Police Chief Jim McDonnell.

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