They sit behind multiple computer screens their entire shift, but they could save your life. They are the operators of 911 dispatch. And although National Public Safety Telecommunications Week is under way, their jobs have not become any less stressful.
Longview Police Department Communications Manager Matt Ainsworth says if anyone deserves a week named for them, it’s 911 telecommunicators.
“It’s a week that we set aside every year to acknowledge who do this very, very difficult job,” Ainsworth said.
He agrees that it’s right up there with air traffic control.
“High stress, technology dependence, shift work, long hours; it’s definitely something else,” Ainsworth said.
That something else has gone from two monitors to six over the years, and they keep an eye on everything.
“You’re monitoring the phones, you’re monitoring GPS, you’re monitoring radios. Multi-tasking is absolutely the heart of what we do back there,” Ainsworth said.