12 Angry Dispatchers

Yavapai County Sheriff’s Public Safety Communication Center

As the 4th of July holiday was in full swing, 911 calls were flooding the center, it was evident that a public service announcement was needed to clarify what is considered a legitimate emergency!

An influx of 911 calls fills each dispatcher with frustration & nausea because citizens deem certain activities to be life and death calls including but not limited to:

  1. Juveniles riding motorcycles and off-road vehicles on dirt roads near their homes that are loud and causing dust and scaring their cows in rural areas being too noisy.
  2. Music being enjoyed by family gatherings as they BBQ and enjoy the beautiful sunshine with lots of watermelon, hamburgers and hotdogs.
  3. Dogs that have been barking since last year, nonstop every day of their life!
  4. Cars lining streets that lead to the nearest watering hole, where people enjoy swimming and hiking.
  5. Fireworks lighting up the sky scaring granny’s cows, and sound like gunshots.
  6. Vegans complaining about neighbors cooking meat on the grill and smelling up the neighborhood with their murder fumes.

Dispatchers politely explain to the 911 callers that these types of calls are not considered life and death and request that they call in on our admin line only to hear the caller berate them and ask where their tax dollars are being spent if they cannot call on 911. The center has been trained for these days of non-stop traffic with little downtime and lots of frustration. But a dispatcher has their breaking point, and many were called into dispatch to back up the early shift so they could take a break before they have an aneurysm. Dispatchers make every attempt to maintain the center’s reputation of being helpful and courteous. In between the calls not deemed life-threatening, we receive calls for search and rescues for dehydrated lost hikers, critical accidents in backcountry areas that take time and effort to find thanks to our well-trained dispatchers they are able to assist the public in getting them the services they need to bring them home safely to their families and give the telecommunicator a sense of really providing the service they are trained to do!

By the end of their shifts the 12 angry dispatchers find themselves filled with a great sense of accomplishment in spite of the nonsensical calls they got throughout the holiday!