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Retiring PCSD 911 dispatcher shares how job has changed

PCSD hiring next class of 911 dispatcher
911-dispatcher for PCSD
Posted at 8:43 AM, Jun 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-22 12:35:00-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The Pima County Sheriff's Department (PCSD) is hiring a dozen new 911 dispatchers. The department is accepting applications until Friday, June 24th. They're hoping to get the next class of those who want a career in public service.

In the PCSD's call center, tucked into a corner cubicle, sits Dan Cancio. Cancio has been a 911 dispatcher for 33 years. Every call he receives is different, but the goal is the same. He works to get as much information as he can in order to quickly send help.

While the job to help people has stayed the same, the technology has drastically changed.

"Our computers back then were black and white," Cancio said."Maybe some of your audience might know the pong game. The paddle on the ping pong, that was what it was like. On little tiny monitors and that's what we do and now we have multi-colored and more than one monitor and two keyboards and things like that."

Throughout his career, he's dealt with several hard calls. In spite of the bad, he shows up every day, hoping he can make a difference.

"You know, this job is like nothing else...I plug in and I have no idea what's going to happen," Cancio explained. "I initiate nothing. I react to everything that happens. The adrenaline can, is a roller coaster ride, some days and some days it's not. And I like that."

Cancio will be hanging up his headset and retiring. He's hoping by sharing his story, others will choose a career as a 911 dispatcher.

"Nobody knows what you go through, I can not articulate it. My family, my friends, my neighbors, they don't really know what I do," Cancio said. "But everyone in this room, they know what I do and that is the bond that we have."

For more information on becoming a 911 dispatcher for PCSD, please visit the department's website.

Denelle Veselik is an anchor and investigative reporter for KGUN 9. It's been her dream to tell your stories for the past decade. She is extremely curious and wants to continue to use her storytelling for the greater good. Share your story ideas and important issues with Denelle by emailing or by connecting on Facebook, and Twitter.