POLL: Dispatchers – Supervisors Or Not Supervisors?

Today I’m crowdsourcing answers and opnions to this question:

Dispatchers – can what they do be considered supervising and therefore would you consider them a level of supervision over field staff? If so wouldn’t you then consider them Supervisors through job function although not through title?

Can Dispatchers, through job function and not by title, be considered Supervisors?

Yes, the function of a Dispatcher is to provide direction, guidance, and oversight to field staff

No, the function of the Dispatcher is simply to provide call information to units and funnel their needs to the appropriate resources, therefore there is no oversight

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My Case As To Why They Can Be Considered Supervisors

I argue that, although their title is Dispatcher, the role they play is more of a first line of oversight and/or supervision. I argue this mostly with people from outside the Emergency Medical Services (such as the fine folks in Human Resources) who do not actually understand what the function of a Dispatcher is. Allow me to explain why I see it that way by starting with the definition of Supervisor:


The definition of a Supervisor clearly defines them as someone who supervises workers or the work done by others. Now let’s look at the actual definition of supervises:


The word supervises clearly indicates that the activity includes directing workers to complete a task (ie assigning them a call), directs the work of someone (ie sending a unit to post or reassigning the unit), and the synonyms include both oversee and monitor (ie signal updates).

So since I’m on a definition kick, let’s look at the actual definition of Dispatcher:


The second definition specifically uses the work “oversees” which is a synonym for the definition of supervise and therefore, in essence and job function but not in title, I would argue that a dispatcher is a Supervisor figure to field staff. Keep in mind that they are for all intense purposes the command and control element for the resources at work. Although they are doing it from a remote location

Please let me know if you agree or disagree (and why) through voting above and/or in the comments below…

(…To Be Continued…)