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On the other end: 911 operators difficult but rewarding job

Tucson 911 Operator
Posted at 10:30 PM, Dec 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-17 00:30:45-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — During the holidays many take the time to pause and spend time with friends and family.

However, for those who work in emergency services, that isn't always possible. Tucson's Public Safety Communications Department is always staffed, and operators work 12-hour days.

"At times it can be a little bit difficult," Ivan De La Torre, a 911 operator, said. "Having the help of your peers and knowing you are able to get someone out of a situation or send the right amount of help to the right location as well; its a pretty rewarding job."

Geoffrey Kuhn, who is Public Safety Communications Administrator, echoed De La Torre's thoughts.

"There are not too many jobs where you go home and say I saved a life today," Kuhn said. "This is one of those few."

Kuhn said that operators aim to answer 90% of calls within ten seconds of receiving them. He said at times they are able to hit the mark.

"I will tell you it's not as consistent as we'd hope," Kuhn said. "We do have periods of time where for various reasons we've struggled to achieve those call answer times, but for the most part we answer those calls quickly and efficiently and get help sent."

In March, the department was in need of more operators. However, Kuhn said they have had success hiring this year and that more staff will help achieve faster answer times.

"We do anticipate closing the year with more staff than we did at the start of this year," Kuhn said. "That's the first in several years we've accomplished that."

If you would like to apply for a job with the department, click here.

"We're one big happy family here," De La Torre said. "Everyone helps everyone."