A Call For Help: Phoenix Police Bureau Needs To Fill 45 Operator Jobs

Published: Monday, January 23, 2017 - 5:05am
Updated: Monday, January 23, 2017 - 6:56am
Audio icon Download mp3 (1.24 MB)
Phoenix Police Communications
The Phoenix Police Communications Bureau handles emergency and non-emergency calls and dispatches officers.
(Photo courtesy of Phoenix Police Communications)
New hires with the Phoenix Police Communications Bureau undergo eight months of training.

The people who answer 911 calls are in need of some help. The Phoenix Police Communications Bureau is looking to fill dozens of positions. 

First there was a hiring freeze during the recession. Then, changes in the pension formula pushed some workers to retire early. Toss in people leaving for other reasons, and it adds up to 45 vacancies Janis Lair needs to fill.

“I think we are going to get out of this — I will call it a hole,” she said. “I think we are going to get out of this hole.”

As a training supervisor, Lair’s become pretty good at spotting which new hires will make it through the 8-month training period for call takers and dispatchers — they are the calm, confident multitaskers.

"We’re the ones that when things are at high stress, that we’re the voice on the radio that is not rattled,” she said. “Because if we get rattled, the officers get rattled and that’s the same with the phones. If we sound like we’re stressed, the caller themselves is gonna be stressed as well.”

During a typical 8- or 10-hour shift, a communications operator could answer between 110 and 150 calls. She said one big challenge for people is dealing with the shift work.

"So you’re gonna be working weekends, you’re gonna be working holidays, you’re gonna be working evenings,” she said. “But we pay extra shift differential for those evenings, we pay holiday pay.”  

Applicants must pass an online test, a typing test, and a computerized simulator test before facing a panel interview. A full criminal background check and drug test are conducted before a job offer is made. More details on the process and the job can be found here.