"9-1-1. What's Your Emergency?": Dispatcher Inquiries Regarding Military Populations and Mental Health

Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Research Paper

Degree Name



Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Apryl A. Alexander, Psy.D.

Second Committee Member

Brian Gearity, Ph.D.

Third Committee Member

Jessica Flermoen, Psy.D.


Emergency management systems, First responders, Veteran, Military, Emergency dispatch

Publication Statement

Copyright held by the author. Permanently suppressed.


According to the National Emergency Number Association (NENA), emergency callers in the United States make approximately 240 million 9-1-1 calls each year. Given their ability to gather information prior to officer response, the present study aims to examine information dispatchers gather during incoming calls, particularly regarding mental health histories and veteran/military status. The present study used a mixed-methods design to identify the types of information typically gathered during crisis calls as related to at-risk populations—a gap in the emergency dispatch literature. Participants were 117 dispatchers from throughout the United States who learned about this study through social media postings from the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED). Results indicated the majority of dispatchers endorsed fielding emergency calls involving military populations and individuals with mental health concerns, respectively. However, despite these interactions, dispatching agencies do not require specialized trainings concerning these at-risk populations or the topic of suicidality. This paper discusses implications and future directions for training, research, and practice for 9-1-1 dispatching.


35 pgs

Paper Method

Empirical - Mixed

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