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New Arizona law requires paid trauma counseling for 911 dispatchers

Emergency dispatchers in Arizona will now receive paid counseling for trauma experienced at work after Gov. Katie Hobbs signed a bipartisan bill.

State law already required employers to cover counseling sessions for police officers and firefighters exposed to traumatic incidents, like a child drowning, death or a shooting. The bill added 911 dispatchers.

“They feel the effects just as much, maybe even more so than our first responders because being on the other end of the phone you're not able to take action like our first responders and sometimes they don’t know how these calls end up,” said Phoenix Councilwoman Ann O’Brien who attended Wednesday’s bill signing ceremony.

Treatment time must also be covered. The bill says employers cannot make police, fire or 911 dispatchers use their vacation, personal or sick time for counseling sessions. 

“Anytime we offer another tool in the toolbox for people to take care of themselves, it’s an important step in the right direction,” O’Brien said.

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.