The Wicomico County Sheriff's Office Communication Center has an authorized strength of ten Police Communication Officers (PCO), which includes one supervisor.
***Note that the Wicomico County Sheriff's Office also dispatches calls for the Delmar and Fruitland Police Departments, 16 hours each day and 24 hours on Saturday and Sunday.
Police Communications Officers receive calls from individuals who need assistance from police officers, firefighters, or emergency medical services. Once information is obtained from the caller, these dispatchers activate the services necessary to respond to the nature of the call for help. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 36% of all dispatchers employed in the United States in 2004 were public safety dispatchers. Many times dispatchers must interact with persons who are injured or in an emergency situation that is in progress.
A standard certification requirement for PCO's is that of "Terminal Operator" certification in order to access the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database system. Access to this database system often allows additional access to the state-level system comparable to NCIC which allows public safety dispatchers to access motor vehicle registration and drivers license information, as well as wants or warrants by various law enforcement agencies both statewide and national.
In addition to certifications, specialized training is also required or appropriated to PCO's. As PCO's are the first contact made between the public and emergency services, they need to be able to extract a vast array of information out of the caller. Such specialized training can include: suicide intervention, hostage negotiation, bomb threats, tactical dispatching (for SWAT teams), domestic violence and domestic and foreign terrorism countermeasures.