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Dispatch class offered at college

Teri Vance

They save lives by answering phones, and a 10-week course at Western Nevada Community College is designed to attract more people to be 911 dispatchers.

“There is a definite need for emergency dispatchers,” said Katie Durbin, the commander of Western Nevada State Peace Officers Academy. “Just about every law enforcement agency in the area has openings. It’s difficult to find qualified employees.”

The course begins Monday and runs from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays until Nov. 15.

Students will learn communication skills, map reading, crisis intervention and first aid to prepare for the variety of calls they will receive.

Durbin said the best people for the job are those who enjoy a fast-paced work environment.

“You never have a moment’s rest in the emergency call center,” she said. “It’s a go-go-go-type situation. Some people thrive in that atmosphere.”

Students who complete the course will be prepared for dispatch jobs in fire departments, police agencies, ambulance services or any other agency using dispatchers.

The course costs about $800, with financial assistance available, and graduates can expect an annual salary of about $29,000.

Durbin said students should be able to complete a variety of tasks simultaneously.

“You have to walk, talk, chew gum, answer phones and solve problems all at the same time,” she said.

To register or for more information about the class call 775-445-4408.