Observer Expectations

An observer in the Roanoke County Emergency Communications Center (ECC) will gain a realistic view of our daily operations. An experienced Communications Officer will provide the observer with an overview of our telephone, radio, and other computer equipment. The observer will have an opportunity to listen to incoming 911 and administrative calls, as the Communications Officer obtains, processes, and provides information. The observer may listen to radio traffic among various public safety agencies served by the Roanoke County ECC.

The Roanoke County ECC prides itself on a commitment to first responder safety. There may be times when high-risk incidents or increased call volume prevents the Communications Officer from interacting with an observer. There also may be events which necessitate early termination of an observation period by the Roanoke County ECC supervisor. However, these events are extremely rare and observers will normally experience a high level of interaction with our Communications Officers.

While emergency services workloads are largely unpredictable, observers generally will experience more activity during warmer weather. We encourage you to schedule your visit soon. Schedule Your Observation Today (PDF)

Observer Instructions

The Roanoke County Emergency Communications Center (ECC) requires permission from a legal guardian, if you are under 18 years of age, for participation in our observation program. You can schedule an 8-hour observation period with us every 12 months. We ask that you dress in business casual clothing and follow all instructions from Communications Officers during your observation period. While you are observing, we also ask that you conduct yourself in a mature and professional manner and refrain from interfering with the job performance of the Communications Officers.

Observation applications must be submitted at least 3 business days prior to the requested observation date. Observers' criminal histories will be reviewed prior to approval for observation. Only sworn law enforcement officers with proper credentials and prior approval are permitted to possess weapons in the Roanoke County ECC.