An MTSU graduate student discussed 911 dispatchers’ critical roles in ensuring rapid, efficient emergency responses on a recent “MTSU On the Record” radio program.
Host Gina Logue’s interview with Katherine Rowe, who’s worked as a 911 dispatcher for the city of Murfreesboro for nearly a year, first aired Jan. 28 on WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5 and online at www.wmot.org. You can listen to their conversation above.
Rowe is working toward a master’s degree in sociology in the university’s College of Liberal Arts. To fulfill an assignment for a social policy analysis class, she wrote an editorial, published Nov. 29, 2019, in the Knoxville News Sentinel and in other Gannett newspapers.
In it, Rowe described the weighty responsibilities of 911 dispatchers and the relatively low pay they receive for doing very stressful work.
According to information Rowe cited from Data USA, the average salary for dispatchers nationwide was about $41,154 in 2017. By comparison, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that police and detectives made a median annual income of $63,380.
“A 911 dispatcher isn’t just someone who answers 911 calls, and it isn’t just someone who talks on the radio to our officers,” Rowe said.
“We do so much more than that, and, if it weren’t for us, officers would not be able to safely do their jobs.”
In the editorial, she advocated passage of the federal “911 Saves Act,” a bill that would upgrade 911 dispatchers from clerical workers to first responders with a commensurate raise in pay.
U.S. Rep. Norma Torres of California, a former dispatcher for the Los Angeles Police Department, is sponsoring the measure, known as House Resolution 1629.
To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, visit the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at www.mtsunews.com.
For more information about “MTSU On the Record,” contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.