WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – People across the country are calling for a change in job description for 911 dispatchers, and the federal government is reconsidering how the position is classified.
Many people don’t know that the job is currently considered a clerical position.
“They’re classified in clerical, the same as a taxicab dispatcher,” said Trumbull County 911 Director Ernest Cook.
The argument is that 911 dispatchers do so much more than just answer calls.
“They are trained to, on a shooting, actually interview people and get witness statements over the phone. We’ve had full confessions over the phone because of the skill of the dispatcher,” Cook said.
Firefighter and paramedic Jim Petruzzi says 911 dispatchers are the first link in the emergency system.
“We’re trained to give step-by-step instructions through the incident. In other cases, sometimes it’s just offering kind words until EMS can arrive on scene,” he said. “You have to hear the stress that’s in their voice and try to reassure them that they’re going to be okay.”
The job classification is being reviewed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Trumbull County is lending support to an online campaign to get it changed.
Cook says this is just the first step to many other changes in the future.