All 911 calls in Bridgeport, Connecticut are answered quickly and processed efficiently by dispatchers at the state-of-the-arts Bridgeport Public Communications Center. However, that was not always the case. Prior to 2010, all 911 calls were directed to the state police who only handled incidents on state roadways. Precious time was lost as all other calls were transferred either to police or fire dispatch.
In 2010, with the help of a $6 million Community Oriented Policing Service grant, the new Bridgeport Public Communications Center was opened. The highly trained 911 operators are able to quickly assess the caller’s situation and immediately dispatch the appropriate police, fire, and/or emergency medical units.
The center employs 31 civilians, nine of whom are in supervisory positions; it operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and there are always two supervisors and nine call takers on duty. The Bridgeport center fields approximately 100,000 emergency calls each year.
The steps you need to take to become a 911 dispatcher in Bridgeport are as follows:
|Get Prepared for a Job in Bridgeport
|Apply for a Job in Bridgeport
|Begin Working and Complete Training
|Take part in Continuing Education
Step 1. Get a Good Education and Get Prepared for a Job in Bridgeport
Although not required for a 911 dispatcher job, an associate’s or bachelor’s degree automatically gives you an advantage over those with only a high school education, both when being considered for hire and for later when advancing into a supervisory position. You can get a degree in a relevant field like public safety, emergency management, criminal justice, homeland security or fire science from any of the five colleges/universities in Bridgeport or from one of several online schools.
As a 911 dispatcher in Bridgeport you will receive, evaluate, validate, and prioritize emergency and non-emergency calls from citizens while entering all relevant data into a computer-aided dispatch system and dispatching the appropriate police, fire or emergency medical units to the scene. Abilities needed include:
- Active listener/good memory
- Excellent oral and written communication
- Good judgment and decision-making ability
- Detail oriented
- Computer proficient
- Type at least 40 wpm
Step 2. Apply for a Job in Bridgeport
Public safety dispatcher in Bridgeport is a civil service job and all hiring is handled by the City of Bridgeport Personnel Office, which posts lists of all current openings.
Online and paper applications are only accepted for positions that are currently being advertised. However, you can inquire about employment probabilities at the Public Safety Communications Center, 581 N. Washington Avenue, Bridgeport, CT 06604; telephone – 203-579-3811.
Step 3. Begin Working and Complete Training
Doree Price, director of the Bridgeport Public Safety Communications Center, said that the efficiency of the new communications center is possible “through training, quality improvement and continued dispatch education.” All new 911 dispatchers are thoroughly trained in emergency medical dispatch protocol as well as use of the technologically sophisticated computer-aided dispatch system and the latest Motorola radio system. New recruits have both classroom instruction and on-the-job training alongside an experienced dispatcher.
The median annual salary of 911 dispatchers in Bridgeport is $37,311. Depending on education and experience, you can expect to start at about $29,500 and enjoy increases up to $46,030. Supervisors earn annual salaries of $55,000 to $62,000.
Step 4. Take Part in Continuing Education
All public safety employees are required to participate in classes to continue their education and increase their expertise as a way to enhance their professionalism and skills as well as to improve service to the citizens of Bridgeport.
The Bridgeport Public Safety Communications Center hosts classes offered by the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials, the National Emergency Number Association, and others. Director Price maintains that the goal is to become a “centralized training location for all telecommunicators in the region.”
In addition to being extremely well trained, the 911 dispatchers in Bridgeport have a big heart. Shortly before Thanksgiving in 2012, a 911 call was received from a man who was walking home from shopping when he was accosted by a masked gunman who took all of his bags and money. The man said the bags contained a turkey and all the trimmings for his family’s Thanksgiving dinner and he had no more money to replace them. The Bridgeport dispatchers took up a collection for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner and delivered it to the gentleman’s home.