St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office recruiting 911 Communications Center deputies

Posted: January 22nd, 2020 | Filed under: News Releases | Tags:

St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office recruiting 911 Communications Center deputies

They’re the first point of contact for a person in need, or the true first, first responders, but 911 operators are often overlooked and underrated among law enforcement and emergency response professionals.

Although often the unsung heroes, Sheriff James Pohlmann said, 911 operators play a vital role in law enforcement, serving as the link between the caller and deputies who can provide safety and emergency medical professionals who can render aid.

“They need to be able to think fast, ask the right questions and get help on the way as quickly as possible,” the Sheriff said. “They’re also responsible for keeping track of where our deputies are at all times and being there for them in their time of need as well, whether it be providing them with valuable information or sending backup their way.”

A 911 operator must be able to act calmly while taking control in chaotic and stressful situations, the Sheriff said, often times making split decisions that could make a difference between a life and death situation. They’re required to gather essential information from callers and dispatch the appropriate first responders to the scene as quickly as possible.

They must be organized, adept at multitasking, level-headed and trustworthy. It’s also important for them to be compassionate, yet unwavering in various types of situations, the Sheriff said.

Due to these types of demands, the Sheriff said, advanced on-the-job training is mandatory for deputies in the Communications Division, which operates the 911 emergency system from its headquarters on West St. Bernard Highway in Arabi.

“All training is hands-on and is often stringent and rigorous,” said Maj. Angie Huff, commander of the 911 Communications Center. “There’s an extensive training program that consists of four different phases that takes no less than six months to finish. It’s imperative they be well-trained to handle any situation.”

Maj. Huff said deputies work 12-hour shifts and are cross trained in all of the following positions: call taker, dispatcher and NCIC dispatcher.

The role of a call taker includes answering all incoming calls that come in through the 911 line, as well as the non-emergency line, and handling them accordingly, Maj. Huff said. Call takers must have strong communication and typing skills, along with a positive and caring attitude.

Call takers must remain calm in stressful situations, while gathering accurate information and establishing priorities. This deputy must efficiently provide details to dispatchers, as well as other emergency service personnel such as fire department officials and emergency medical technicians.

Maj. Huff said dispatchers gather information provided by the call taker and assign the appropriate officer on duty to respond to that call. This deputy also has to keep track of the location of all officers on duty, whether they are on an assigned call or a call generated through instances such as a traffic stop, flag down or car broken down on the highway.

The NCIC dispatchers gather information from officers in the field such as a subject’s name or a vehicle’s license plate in order to advise deputies if the person of interest has any outstanding warrants or if a vehicle is listed as stolen. Maj. Huff said this deputy is required to do a certain level of investigating to find all the information needed by the officer. During high call volume times, this deputy also helps answer incoming calls.

During a typical shift, Maj. Huff said, there are no less than five deputies working in the 911 center; however, for large scale events such as festivals and parades there could be as many as 10 working at one time.

In an average month, Maj. Huff said the 911 Communications Center receives more than 2,000 calls, mostly for things such as suspicious activity, disturbances, alarms, reckless driving and lockouts.

In addition to being at least 21 years old and having a high school diploma or GED, pre-employment screenings include: an extensive criminal background check, an oral interview, typing, spelling and multitasking tests, polygraph, drug screening, and medical examination. Applicants also must have a clean driving record, computer literacy and a typing speed of at least 35 wpm.

The starting salary for a deputy in the Communications Division is based on experience and education. Benefits include health insurance, dental and vision plans, life insurance, vacation and sick leave, pension plan and credit union access.

Anyone interested in obtaining information about a career in law enforcement as a 911 Communications Center deputy, can call (504) 271-2501. Applications are available online at or by visiting the Sheriff’s Office at #2 Courthouse Square in Chalmette, directly behind the St. Bernard Parish Courthouse.

Consider joining St. Bernard’s finest in “Keeping St. Bernard Safe.”