A new “Quiet Room” at the Phoenix Police Department’s Communications Center is meant to provide 911 emergency call dispatchers a brief respite of peace in the midst of what is generally a tumultuous and at times highly stressful job.

Several Arizona Rotary clubs partnered with local businesses to convert what was previously a storage room into the new Quiet Room at the communications center located at 110 E. Elwood St. The new room was dedicated Sept. 17 at a ceremony attended by the Phoenix mayor, police chief and Rotary officials.
Ten Rotary clubs – led by Peoria Rotary Club and Past District Gov. Chuck Fitzgerald -- pitched in to come up with the $5,000 needed to complete the project. The new room features a comfortable sofa, chairs, calming art and soft lighting. Inspirational and uplifting quotes adorn the walls.  
Dispatchers at the center in South Phoenix field over 2 million emergency calls every year. During an average eight-hour shift, it’s not uncommon for a dispatcher to receive a call involving an officer-involved shooting, suicide, missing person or child drowning.

For dispatchers, stress is part of the job. But some days can be worse than others. On difficult days when calls are especially intense, dispatchers require frequent breaks from the telephone desk. The new room gives them a comfortable, calming – and quiet – place to relax and recharge. “This new room gives our operators time to decompress,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego during the dedication ceremony. “It may be the only time of the day for them to take a breath and reflect.” Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said it’s important for call-center agents to “take a little breather.” The Quiet Room, she said, is one more resource for employees to maintain good overall emotional and physical health.”

“Our communication operators are the first to provide help for someone who is experiencing the worst day of their life. We understand the emotional and physical impact these calls for service can have on our employees,” said Chief Williams.
Mr. Fitzgerald spearheaded the project after being contacted by Commander Aimee Smith and several detectives at the center. Police officials asked Mr. Fitzgerald if Rotary would be interested in helping renovate the facility’s existing quiet room.