CAHSS Faculty Presentations, Proceedings, Lectures, and Symposia


Evaluation of the Dispatcher Hiring and Retention Systems at a 911 Emergency Communications Center

Event Name

Evaluation 2017: From Learning to Action

Event Location

Washington, DC, U.S.A.


Department of Justice and Human Services

Document Type


Presentation Date



Consistent with the theme of this conference, this paper will discuss how an organizational learning process led by the evaluator was used to positively impact the hiring and retention systems at a communications center that dispatches 911 calls for law enforcement, detention, and fire rescue services. A high percentage of candidates for the communications operator (CO) position do not pass the employment screening process. Furthermore, many CO’s resign during their training or in their first year of employment. The turnover rate for the Center is much higher than the national rate for similar organizations.

The evaluator developed a multifaceted approach to investigate the challenges related to the screening process. The evaluator also examined the high rates of turnover to provide actionable recommendations to Center management. Lessons learned from this evaluation can inform the future work of evaluators conducting organizational consulting with law enforcement and first responder organizations.

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