Police Dispatching Fundamentals
There are an incredible amount of questions to ask based on every situation. I find that with police
dispatching, there are 3 major things to find out: where, what, and weapons. "Where" should always come
first, because if you know the location you can send someone to find out what happened. "What"
(happened) is the second most important thing to find out so you can:
"Weapons" is self evident, you need to help protect your officers
going into an incident. If the situation calls for it ask if there are injuries or any other questions that are
relevant. Other information that will be helpful to aid officers in an investigation is "who." If a person on
the phone can identify who s/he thinks may have committed the crime, then officers are one step up.
Don't terminate the call until you have recieved all the information that you need, (call back number, etc.)
and if the incident is a serious one, keep the caller on the line until officers arive at the scene. If you
answer the phone and you know you have a serious incident, as soon as you know the address tell the
caller to stay on the line (some people will just hang up if they hear the call being dispatched) and then
dispatch the call. If at that point you don't know what the situation is, dispatch it out as an "unknown
emergency" and update responding officers as you get more information. Every emergency situation will
differ, but these basics will help aid in the fundamentals of police dispatching.
- send enough units
- send appropriate units
- let the officers responding know what they are getting into, because their method of response will change for every situation
One other thing I should mention. If you are a police dispatcher and you recieve a call that could be for
a medical or fire situation or a call turns into one and the responding officer tells you to wait so s/he can check it out before
calling the EMS or fire agency, AT LEAST notify the fire/EMS crew. The officer
who has told you to hold off is taking great responsibility into his hands when doing this. If it turns out to
be a structure fire or a subject not breathing, then the officer and the dispatcher can be liable.
The way I always handled situations like this was to just simply inform the fire or EMS crew of the
situation and 99 times out of 100 they would deciede to respond despite the officer's objections.
However, make sure to check your departments SOG/SOP (Standard Operating Guide/Procedure) to see what your dispatch center's procedure
in this case should be.
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© Copyright 2000, Jesse J. Sinclair. May not be reproduced without written consent.