Bill to Recognize Emergency Dispatchers as First Responders Moves Forward

Salas AB 1945 Graphic

SACRAMENTO – Assembly Bill 1945 (AB 1945), which recognizes the brave work of public safety dispatchers by reclassifying them as first responders, passed with bipartisan, unanimous support out of the Senate Labor, Public Employment and Retirement Committee.

“Our state depends on the incredible and tireless work of our emergency dispatchers who are the first to respond during a crisis and the last voice we hear on the phone,” said Assemblymember Salas. “By reclassifying dispatchers as first responders, AB 1945 will provide the recognition and respect they deserve as they continue to keep our families safe.”

Currently, the Federal government describes dispatchers as an “administrative” or “clerical” occupation. This misclassification does not accurately describe the work of dispatchers who undergo extensive training and whose work can mean the difference between life and death. The idea for this bill was brought to Assemblymember Salas by a local dispatcher from Kings County.

Public safety dispatchers play a vital role in emergency response. They routinely communicate with individuals in great distress, harm, fear, or injury, including during active shooter situations. There are currently over 6,000 dispatchers employed in California who responded to over 27 million 9-1-1 calls in 2018 alone.

AB 1945 will be heard next in the Senate Appropriations Committee.