Public safety dispatchers (also known as emergency dispatchers, Telecommunicators or 911 dispatchers) receive calls from individuals who need assistance from Firefighters, Police Officers, and Emergency Medical Services. Once information is obtained from the caller, these dispatchers activate the services necessary to respond to the nature of the call for help. Dispatchers are an integral part of the organization's success. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 36% of all dispatchers employed in the United States in 2004 were public safety dispatchers.
In 1968 AT&T announced it would establish a special number -- 911 -- for emergency calls to the police, fire and other emergency services. Within several years, 911 systems were in use in large urban areas. By 1980 police departments began implementing "enhanced" 911, which allowed dispatchers to see on their computer screens the addresses and telephone numbers from which 911 emergency calls originated.
The primary tool of the Dispatcher is the dispatch console. A dispatch console is a system that interfaces to a private or public radio system, allowing the dispatcher to communicate directly with all field workers, police officers, EMS personnel, and others in order to coordinate their activities. Dispatchers use various hardware and software to create dispatch.