Honolulu Police Department Needs Dozens of Dispatchers

Captain Luke Correa
Captain Luke Correa
Sharon Yamamoto
Sharon Yamamoto

By Beth Hillyer

(KHNL) - The Honolulu Police Department is putting out a call to fill a serious shortage of 9-1-1 dispatchers.

If you have a police emergency and dial 9-1-1, a dispatcher will answer your call. But the department admits it needs to hire more call takers.

The Honolulu Police Department handles more than a million calls a year.

Now dispatchers are working overtime to fill the vacancies.

Of course dealing with life threatening situations makes this a stressful job, but some veteran dispatchers say it's very rewarding.

Dispatching has come a long way. They now work in a state-of-the-art communications center. You could fill this seat.

Police Captain Luke Correa admits, "We are about 33 dispatchers short right now."

Dispatcher Sharon Yamamoto shows off, "I love my desk, I can raise it, I can stand and take calls instead of sitting down and I can stand and do my work."

Perks include foot warmers, fans, and job that no one would consider boring.

Captain Correa adds, "Want to encourage everyone to come down and take the test."

Applicants must be able to make sound decisions under stressful conditions.

"It would really help if they could multi task, speak to people, computer skills really make it easier because there are a lot of computer skills involved," says Correa.

Sharon Yamamoto has been dispatching for 25 years, "It feels pretty good actually I guess it's how you take it personal."

Correa adds, "You have to have a passion for the job."

Besides the pay there are a lot of benefits to the job.

"They are able to help people everyday they are helping someone it's fulfilling for them to be part of the community doing this type of work."

Here are some job requirements:

Two years of experience in radio telephone switchboard operation, dispatching, public contact, or clerical/technical supervisory work.

Such experience must have demonstrated the ability to verbally deal effectively with the public on a frequent basis, effectively operate a typewriter or a computer keyboard/video display terminal; possess sound character and background; and meet the medical standards established for the police radio dispatcher. Ability to work rotating shifts.

There is an exam coming up in june and applications are available on the department's website.  Click on the link above to get the application.