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NCJ Number: 119451 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Relief for the Frazzled Dispatcher
Journal: Law Enforcement Technology  Volume:16  Issue:7  Dated:(July/August 1989)  Pages:30,32,36,38-39
Author(s): K Arbogast
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 5
Type: Program/Project Evaluation
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Occupational stress encountered by public safety communications center dispatchers and its impact on job performance are examined.
Abstract: The Association of Public Safety Communication Officers estimates that the study of occupational stress for the nation's 300,000 dispatchers is about 10 years behind the study of stress among police, fire, and emergency medical service personnel. Dispatcher stress may differ from the stress encountered by others in law enforcement because telecommunicators do not have the hands-on involvement with a crisis but are held responsible for how crises and emergencies are handled. The St. Louis police department communications center has experienced some dispatcher stress due to organizational changes. Although the police department does not have a stress education program specifically for dispatchers, employees are encouraged to take advantage of the city's employee assistance program. The police department also has an advisory committee that meets regularly with the police chief to discuss employee concerns. The Minneapolis Emergency Communications Center has addressed stress-related environment and training issues for dispatchers by building a new communications section featuring indirect lighting to reduce computer glare and a training area where new employees can be put through simulation training exercises. In addition to an employee assistance program, the city of Minneapolis offers its employees the opportunity to join local health clubs at discounted rates and sponsors employee wellness programs. A growing trend among communications center administrators may be to employ a psychologist specially trained in dealing with the unique problems encountered by public safety employees. The use of a stress barometer to monitor dispatcher stress and the effectiveness of police department support groups in dealing with occupational stress are noted.
Main Term(s): Police occupational stress
Index Term(s): Police dispatch personnel evaluation; Police dispatch training; Stress management
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