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How to Become a 911 Dispatcher in New Mexico

New Mexico is home to 2.1 million residents who reside throughout the state’s 33 counties. Aside from the urban areas along the Rio Grande corridor, this state is sparsely populated with several Native American tribes. Despite the challenges of having large, unpopulated areas, as well as rural areas that do not even have telephone service, more than 99 percent of New Mexico’s population lives in an area that is served by a wireless 911 system.

New Mexico’s Department of Public Safety, which is responsible for overseeing the Local Government Division Enhanced 911 services, includes dispatch centers throughout the state that are designed to support the New Mexico State Police District Offices. 911 dispatch centers are located in:

  • Santa Fe
  • Las Vegas
  • Raton
  • Roswell
  • Las Cruces
  • Albuquerque
  • Gallup
  • Alamogordo
  • Tucumcari
  • Socorro

Preparing for a Career in New Mexico’s 911 Dispatch Centers

Individuals who want to learn how to become a 911 dispatcher in New Mexico must be a United States citizen and must have no felony convictions. Because the job of a 911 operator includes providing communication to local law enforcement agencies and answering and assisting emergency and non-emergency calls, many candidates choose to prepare for this type of demanding profession by completing a college program in one of the following areas:

  • Psychology
  • Public Safety
  • Homeland Security
  • Emergency Management
  • Criminal Justice
  • Communications
  • Computer Science

It is common for individuals interested in 911 operator jobs to pursue either associate or bachelor’s degrees, as they provide individuals with a solid educational foundation on which they can build a career. A degree in communications is often a popular choice for 911 dispatchers, as it designed to provide individuals with study in the following topics:

  • Introduction to Communications
  • Foundations of Interpersonal Communications
  • Information Strategies
  • Management of Information Systems
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • Foundations of Psychology

Individuals applying for 911 dispatcher positions in New Mexico should expect to undergo a hearing test and a background investigation before being hired.

The Public Safety Telecommunicator Certification Course

New hires must attend and successfully complete the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy as to achieve the Public Safety Telecommunicator Certification and become fully certified dispatchers.

The Public Safety Telecommunicator Certification course involves a total of 132 hours of training within 12 units of instruction. Before attending the academy, individuals must complete 12 pre-academy distance learning applied training hours. Certification training is broken down as follows:

  • Unit 1: Introduction to New Mexico Telecommunications
  • Unit 2: Call Receiving
  • Unit 3: Enhanced 911 Systems
  • Unit 4: Principles of the Law as a Public Safety Telecommunicator
  • Unit 4A: Critical Incident Management and Interdisciplinary Incident Command System
  • Unit 4B: High Performance Team Police Radio Communications
  • Unit 5: High Performance Team Fire Communications
  • Unit 6: High Performance Team Medical Communications
  • Unit 7: Emergency Radio, Life Line to Responders
  • Unit 8: Accountability, Responsibility and Liability for Telecommunicators
  • Unit 9: Crisis Intervention: Dangerous Opportunity
  • Unit 10: 911 Stress Management for Wellness
  • Unit 11: Practical Application of Core Abilities
  • Unit 12: PST Academy Administrative Time

Further, within one year of being hired, all 911 operators must successfully complete:

  • The Basic Radio Dispatcher Training Program through the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy
  • A CPR course
  • An Emergency Medical Dispatcher course

Individuals who are separating from law enforcement service in New Mexico may continue their New Mexico certification by completing a 10-hour, in-service training program offered by the Academy.

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