Emergency dispatchers play a critical role in public safety, acting as the vital first link between citizens in distress and the medical, fire and law enforcement resources that can help them.

This summer, Yavapai College will be training the next generation of dispatchers at their first Public Safety Dispatcher Academy, June 6 through 17 at the Northern Arizona Regional Training Academy (NARTA) on Yavapai College’s Prescott Campus.

“A good dispatcher knows how to read, listen and speak in a first-responder role,” Jim DeLung, Ph.D., Director of the Prescott Regional Communications Center explained. “They need incredible communication skills to collect and relay information in a timely and often urgent manner.” Dispatchers are multi-taskers, ready to assist at a moment’s notice; assessing emergency situations in real time, coaxing out actionable details, controlling the emotions of the person on-scene, and relaying clear instructions to the proper authorities.

DeLung, a Prescott Police Administrator, will lead the two-week academy training, which combines interactive classroom lectures with guest speakers from police and fire departments with role-play exercises and emergency dispatch-based scenarios.

“This training academy is not only for newly hired dispatchers,” Former Prescott Police Chief and YC Justice Studies Instructor Jerald Monahan says, “but also for individuals who have an interest in applying to the academy and becoming a dispatcher.”

The Public Safety Dispatcher Academy has been in development since last Fall, created by local law enforcement professionals to address a shortage of skilled dispatchers. “We currently have approximately 29 vacancies at our five agency dispatch centers,” Monahan explains. “We need to make sure the community is aware of the opportunity [the academy] creates for current employees and those seeking employment, as well.” The College hopes to develop the academy into a six-credit certificate course under the Administration of Justice Studies (AJS) Program.

The Emergency Dispatcher Program begins Monday, June 6 and runs through Friday, June 17. Classes will be held at Building 29 on Yavapai College’s Prescott Campus, 1100 E. Sheldon Street. For more information, please contact Jerald Monahan at Yavapai College’s Administration of Justice Studies Program at (928) 776-2184 or email: