Law Enforcement Dispatcher

According to the Bureau of Justice, law enforcement agencies maintain public order and enforce the law. Officers’ activities include prevention, detection, and investigation of crime and criminal apprehension. Law enforcement also expands into a vast variety of careers and sectors from police and corrections officers to public safety and dispatchers. 

POAM wants to bridge the gap and share insightful information about law enforcement positions. Our new feature, A Day In The Life, focuses on our members and their day-to-day experiences in their respective careers. This month, we are focusing on the Dispatch career field. We’ve interviewed Communication Specialist Talia Hamid from Wayne County Airport Authority. 

Let’s learn more about Talia and her position. 

Talia Hamid’s Day As a Communication Specialist

“Over 240 million calls are made to 911 in the U.S. each year.”

Working in Detroit’s major international airport, Talia has been dispatching calls for Security, Police, and Fire since June 2018. Talia enjoys this type of work and chose this position due to her interest in public safety and helping others. 

She starts her workday getting briefed from the previous shift about any outstanding incidents that may continue onto her 8-hour shift. From there, Talia handles:

  • Answering calls
  • Running the Michigan Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN)
  • Entering dispatch runs
  • Monitoring and logging security systems and alarms
  • Reviewing camera footage
  • Completing paperwork, but this is minimal 

With the various responsibilities and the nature of the department, this work environment can either be low- or high-stress, depending on the time of day and incident. Talia says her staff members “keep it very positive.” The staff members keep a high-focus on making sure external stresses are kept at a minimum to ensure the accuracy and quality of taking a call. 

Schedule

Work schedules can vary for this position, depending on departments. Talia’s work schedule consists of working seven days in a row with four days off, then working eight days in a row with two days off. This is a set schedule without fluctuation. 

Dispatch Calls

The type of calls frequently heard from this department are for sick/injured, questions about the geography of the airport, and reporting security alarms. When taking a call, Talia explains there is a process. The airport communications specialists (dispatchers):

  • Get pertinent information, such as understanding if the call is an emergency or nonemergency, pinpointing its location, and deciding on the appropriate response.
  • Send a responding officer, depending on the situation, and log information in the database, including important facts, the nature of the incident, the caller’s name and information, etc.
  • Stay on the call as long as needed to make sure the caller is safe and an officer has arrived at the scene.

Training

This position requires extensive training to ensure accuracy and safety when taking a call. Employees are constantly learning and growing, since every call and situation they encounter is different. When starting this position, new hires train for approximately six months. 

After initial training is complete, there are always more opportunities for staff members to enhance their skills and continue training. Although it’s not required, it’s helpful with the application process and training if applicants/employees have a similar experience. Talia was a co-op in the Airport Response Center before accepting this position.

Skills Preferred

  • Communication
  • Ability to multitask
  • Computer keyboarding and typing
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Decision-making
  • Empathy 
  • Ability to listen

Three Tips to Advance as a Dispatcher

  • Never become complacent 
  • Take every call very seriously
  • When you are unsure of something, ask questions!
Talia Hamid
Talia Hamid, Communication Specialist

Rewarding Aspects

“A rewarding aspect of this position is helping individuals in their time of need. I don’t think there is anything that is not rewarding. In a position like this, work is what you make of it. I love what I do, so I enjoy going to work. Every day is different so it never gets boring,” said Communications Specialist Talia Hamid. 

What’s Next For Talia

On the horizon, Talia is finishing her Bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management this semester. She also enjoys spending time with family and friends, playing volleyball and basketball when she gets the chance, reading books, and traveling – especially to places with warm climates.

Thank you, Talia Hamid, for sharing your experiences in A Day In The Life. We hope our members and other individuals interested in this law enforcement career, or law enforcement in general, gained new information and perspectives. 

If you are a POAM member who would like to share your work experiences, please email us inquiring for more details. Also, stay tuned for a Career Guide focused on this position.

Related Page: Open Job Positions on POAM’s Website