Nebraska has an overall crime rate that is lower than the national average, though the state does have a higher rate of sexual assault and theft. Experiencing significant weather related hazards annually including an average of over two feet of snow per year in most parts of the state means traffic accidents are commonplace in the state. In 2012 the state saw over 30,000 alcohol related car crashes and over 10,000 DUI arrests. All of these factors figure significantly into the daily workload of 9-1-1 operators in Nebraska.
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Education and Certification Options for Emergency Dispatchers in Nebraska
Nebraska has a college graduation rate of over 50 percent. This means that anyone entering into the job market looking to be a 9-1-1 operator in the state is likely to meet well-qualified competition. This is one of the reasons that getting a college degree as part of the path to becoming a 9-1-1 operator in Nebraska is such a good idea. Additionally, the process of earning a degree can help prepare applicants for some of the significant challenges they may be faced with in the line of duty.
Some degree programs offered in the state of Nebraska which may be helpful when seeking employment as a 9-1-1 dispatch operator include:
- Criminal Justice
There is no license required on the state level to become a 9-1-1 dispatcher in Nebraska. In fact, most municipalities and cities are responsible for manning their respective emergency communications departments. However, there are a number of certification options that may give them a leg up. These include:
- The Emergency Medical Dispatch certification is given to those who have completed the perquisites which are set by the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch.
- The Emergency Fire Dispatch certification is also sponsored by the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch.
- The Criminal Justice Information Services certification tells an employer that the applicant is skilled in working with the FBI’s CJIS systems.
Largest 9-1-1 Dispatch Employers in Nebraska
The larger cities are likely to have more job openings, but are also likely to have greater completion for jobs.
The top employers of emergency dispatchers in Nebraska include:
- Omaha Police Department – Omaha is the largest city in Nebraska by population and is home to about 422,000 people.
- Lincoln Police Department – Lincoln has about 265,000 residents and is the state’s second largest city by population.
- Bellevue Police Department – Bellevue is the third largest city in Nebraska with about 53,000 residents.
Job Responsibilities and Pay
There is considerable similarity in the responsibilities of emergency dispatch personnel for different municipalities. As an example, in order to become a 9-1-1 dispatch agent in Sarpy County Nebraska the applicant must be prepared to:
- Answer multiple telephone lines
- Direct and transfer calls
- Calm upset and irate callers
- Use Emergency Medical Dispatch protocol to assist caller in providing life support when necessary
- Communicate with law enforcement through NCIC/NCIS system
The average starting pay will also vary by jurisdiction. In Sarpy County the average starting salary is in the range of $25,000, with the upper end of the salary range being $35,000 for tenured agents.
Local and National NENA Organizations
There is a reason why dialing 9-1-1 produces an emergency response, no matter from which part of Nebraska the number is dialed. In fact, the same response is generally available across the country. This is because dozens of organizations have worked hard at this standardization. A person interested in becoming a 9-1-1 dispatch agent in Nebraska should familiarize themselves with these organizations including:
- The APCO and NENA of Nebraska works to ensure the smooth operation of emergency dial systems throughout the entire state.
- The National Emergency Number Association works in a similar vein as the Nebraska NENA, but has the scope of the entire country.