Coping Mechanisms of 9-1-1 Police Dispatchers

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Perry, Casandra
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Frequently, 9-1-1 police dispatchers are accountable for the gathering and distribution of emergency information to police, fire, and medical units before they arrive. Turnover, understaffing, and low staff retention are national concerns in 9-1-1 emergency dispatch centers. This qualitative phenomenology study discovered how long-term 9-1-1 police dispatchers prevent and/or recover from burnout. The researcher applied cognitive appraisal theory to see how some individuals adjusted, adapted, and coped with presenting environmental stressors and/or conditions. Individual interviews served as the data source. Participants were selected through purposive sampling from two similar police departments in Arizona and California. The qualitative phenomenology research design assisted in exploring the influence coping mechanisms can have to sustain this type of career. Content analysis was used to code and discover emergent themes from individual interviews. As 9-1-1 dispatch centers nationwide face high turnover and low retention, this study contributes insights into coping mechanisms. Finding out how long-term 9-1-1 police dispatchers use coping mechanisms provides resources to new 9-1-1 police dispatchers to reduce turnover/or recover from burnout. Key findings included that 9-1-1 police dispatchers experience stressors similar to other emergency service personnel with additional stressors present, including processing calls for service, environment, staffing, not knowing the closure of calls, lack of management, and dealing with traumatic events. This study influences social change in providing perceptions of stressors faced by dispatchers and the ways they cope with these stressors to reduce burnout and turnover.
9-1-1 dispatcher , telecommunicator , stress , burnout , coping , police
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States , openAccess