What we do

9-1-1 dispatcher sitting in front of several computer screens

Imagine a job where your efforts make a difference every day, where you help people and help save lives. If you are passionate about serving your community and playing a unique and vital role in ensuring safe communities, this just may be the job for you!

What we do

9-1-1 Police Dispatchers receive and process emergency and non-emergency calls from the public, Fire Departments, BC Ambulance Service and other first responder agencies, such as Search and Rescue. Their role is to quickly prioritize, and accurately process calls to ensure police and public safety, resulting in safer communities.

A 9-1-1 Police Dispatcher has two primary roles:

  • Call Taking: Answering the calls from public.
  • Dispatching: Directing police officers to respond to a specific location or event.

Call Takers receive and process all emergency and non-emergency calls for police services from the public. They are trained to accurately instruct the caller as to what they should do in any given situation. They must quickly and accurately obtain all the required information so an appropriate level of response can be provided as effectively as possible.

A Call Taker is responsible for obtaining all relevant information as soon as possible from the caller,
such as:

  • Where is it happening?
  • What is happening?
  • When did it occur?
  • Who is involved?
  • Are there weapons?
  • Are drugs and alcohol involved?
  • What is the subject's description?
  • What direction are they going?
  • Is the person on foot or in a car?
  • What is the vehicle description?

Dispatchers function like an orchestra conductor responding to calls, coordinating police officers, and finding help when and where it is needed.

Police officers depend on the Dispatcher to ensure they have all the relevant, accurate and timely information to keep themselves and the public safe.

9-1-1 Police Dispatchers have to know and understand the police officer’s role and be able to anticipate the next move — what will the police officers need next and who else needs to be there to support them, such as Police Dogs, Air Service, or Negotiators.

Quick-thinking is a must for potentially life-saving scenarios. It takes an impressive amount of mental clarity, dexterity, and laser-sharp focus to do this job.

Call Taking and Dispatching are done in a unique, highly structured and collaborative work environment which includes:

  • Working shifts during the day, evening, night, including weekdays, weekends and public holidays.
  • Listening through headsets connected to the police radio and telephone systems for long periods of time.
  • Being prepared for every type of call that could result in a critical or major event.

Who we are

As the first of the first responders, 9-1-1 Police Dispatchers serve as the critical link between citizens and the emergency help they require. They are the lifeline between people in critical and sometimes dangerous situations and the help they need.

9-1-1 Police Dispatchers often have to talk people through some tense and fear-stricken moments. Dispatchers know they have to remain calm even in the most dire of situations.

Sometimes, an RCMP police officer works alone and often in dangerous situations. Police officers rely on the Dispatcher to ensure they have all the relevant and timely information to keep themselves and the public safe. 9-1-1 Police Dispatchers must know the police officers, know where they are during their shift, and know when back up may be required.

Where we work

map of BC with district borders

The RCMP has dispatch centres in every province and territory in Canada. In the province of British Columbia, the 9-1-1 Police Dispatch Centres receive emergency and non-emergency calls for service from the public.

9-1-1 Police Dispatch Centres are fast-paced, intense, and dynamically changing environments, operating 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Dispatchers have the responsibility to respond to rapidly emerging situations.

There are four RCMP 9-1-1 Police Dispatch Centre locations in British Columbia:

North District – Prince George

  • Dispatches for 36 detachments and RCMP speciality units.
  • Employs over 90 dispatchers.
  • Dispatches for the largest land area in BC – 300,000 sq. km. – 72% of the province land mass.
  • Dispatches for small detachments including very remote areas and indigenous communities.

Island District - Courtenay

  • Dispatches for 15 detachments and RCMP speciality units.
  • Employs over 60 dispatchers.
  • Located in a diverse and unique geography including mountain landscapes, coastal and marine areas, islands small and large, as well as many remote indigenous communities.
  • Sees an increase in tourism in the summer months.

BC RCMP Headquarters - Surrey

  • Dispatches for 6 detachments in the Fraser Valley and all federal integrated units operating out of the Lower Mainland.
  • Employs over 40 dispatchers.
  • Control point for all provincial requests for services such as: Amber Alerts, Tsunami Notifications, Explosive Disposal Unit (EDU), Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT), Tactical Troop, etc.

Southeast District - Kelowna

  • Dispatches for 43 detachments and RCMP speciality units.
  • Employs over 100 dispatchers.
  • Largest and busiest RCMP 9-1-1 Police Dispatch Centre in Canada.
  • Located in the Okanagan where the population base triples in the summer months due to tourism and special events.

A Career with mobility

There are opportunities to transfer and promote to other RCMP 9-1-1 Police Dispatch Centres within BC and across Canada. Many of the expenses related to the cost of selling your home and moving are paid by the RCMP.

headset icon

Learn more about a day in the life of a 9-1-1 Police Dispatcher.
Discover why our Police Dispatchers live their passion and love what they do.

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