Friday, December 19, 2014


Disclaimer: I love dispatchers. They have a very tough job. I once sat in for a shift at our dispatch center. I'd last about 20 minutes up there before I either quit or got fired for cussing out a caller. Our dispatchers are terrific, but sometimes important things get lost in the shuffle.

Patrol officers depend on dispatchers for a lot of things. They can be the difference between an incident going smoothly, and an incident going really wrong. Here are just a few things we depend on them for:

1. Sending us to the correct address.

2. Getting the correct spelling of the names of the people involved in the run, including the caller.

3. Running the people involved in the run, including the caller, to make sure there are no warnings, cautions, alerts or warrants attached to any of those people (see #2).

4. Confirming with the appropriate agency any warrants that might pop up on anybody in the run (see #2 and #3).

5. Making sure that enough cars are dispatched when there are warnings, cautions, alerts or warrants on someone involved in the run.

6. Sending additional cars on the run if the officers already there don't answer their radios, or if the shit hits the fan.

7. Periodically check on the officers that are dispatched to a run where officers are now not answering their radios, or where the shit has hit the fan, to make sure the officers are OK.

Where I work, dispatchers are great at #1, but often don't do #2. This makes #3 (and therefore #4 and #5) difficult or impossible. Consequently, they are often doing #6 and #7. This occasionally makes for some exciting days at work.

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