law enforcement dispatchers

This is a discussion on law enforcement dispatchers within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; As a part of our "Day in the life of" program with my agency I will be running northside control on Saturday for the agency. ...

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    Distinguished Member Array INccwchris's Avatar
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    law enforcement dispatchers

    As a part of our "Day in the life of" program with my agency I will be running northside control on Saturday for the agency. If there are any dispatchers out there that have some advice on successfully running control or dispatch depending on what you call it I would appreciate knowing what you have to say on the topic at hand. I am very nervous and in fact more nervous to be a control operator than I was to be a field operator. How do I manage 10-20 officers effectively and prioritize what calls should be handled first? How do I know what officers to dispatch to what calls based on expertise or should I just go by nearest available? How do I control situations from behind a radio and how do I handle multi-agency situations? Any advice would be helpful.
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    Distinguished Member Array noway2's Avatar
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    Any advice would be helpful.
    Not specific to the job situation, sorry. From reading several of your posts over the last few months, it sounds like you have a lot of experience and I think you will do fine. Draw on your experience and let it guide you in making decisions. Make the best decision you can based upon the information you have and don't second guess yourself by playing what if. If you receive new information, don't be afraid to update your response. Will all your decisions be right, all of the time, no. Just do the best you can and above all else, stay calm.

    The description you posted reminds me of the proverbial 'inbox' test during stress interviews, where they try to overwhelm you with more than you can handle while tasking you with processing papers. The objective isn't so much the processing task, but approaching the situation in an organized manner and remaining calm.

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    If it's just a day in the life of, I doubt that they would have you do something without extreme supervision. I'm sure that you will just be a 'shadow'.
    If you were really going to be working the job alone, I would suspect that you would have had to pass a test...both written and hands-on.
    I'm sure that it will be an interesting day...I wouldn't worry about it too much.
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by retsupt99 View Post
    If it's just a day in the life of, I doubt that they would have you do something without extreme supervision. I'm sure that you will just be a 'shadow'.
    If you were really going to be working the job alone, I would suspect that you would have had to pass a test...both written and hands-on.
    I'm sure that it will be an interesting day...I wouldn't worry about it too much.
    As retsupt99 said I am sure you will be well supervised.

    In Florida and most other states a LEA Dispatcher must be accredited which requires training and testing.

    Multi agency dispatch centers are now the norm in several large areas in Florida.

    Enjoy your learning expierence.

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    VIP Member Array mcp1810's Avatar
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    I take it you will not be using a CAD (computer aided dispatch system). CAD systems are nice in that they have preassigned priorities by call type.
    The systems I have used had your call type ( burglary, assault, personal injury collision etc) and a modifier relating to when it occurred ( In progress, Just occurred, Occurred earlier).
    The urgency of the call is a combination of the incident type and when it happened. An assault and battery that occurred earlier ( more than an hour ago) would be a lower priority than say a residential burglar alarm. An assault and battery in progress gets a priority response ( lights and siren).
    As a general rule calls with an immediate threat to life go first, then threat to property then basically information calls.

    Calls with a threat or potential threat to life /officer safety should get two officers at minimum.

    Your dispatch order (unless your agency has a different S.O.P.) should be beat car, secondary beat car, sector back up, adjoining beat car. When in doubt call the shift supervisor, tell them what you have holding and who you have available.

    I always tried to keep at least one unit plus the supervisor available. As soon as you have everyone committed on something you are going to get the domestic violence in progress call where the guy kills half his family.

    Remember to do status/welfare checks on your guys. If someone is out by their lonesome on a traffic stop and you haven't heard from them in ten minutes, check on them.
    If you have two units out together you can be a little more casual. If they are on something like a domestic though, check on them.
    Also, burglary occurred earlier should get two units. After they clear the house they can argue over who gets stuck with the report and who gets to go in service.

    If you are dispatching from cards, there should be a spot on the card to write in the primary unit. If you don't have spots running down the side or something for secondary units, write them on the back. Any information requests write on the back. Status checks, note on the back. When individual units clear put a single line through them and the time. If your dispatch console has card slots, mark a slot for each individual unit. The card with the call goes in the primary unit's slot. Back up units you can just put a card in their slot with a note like " with 1A1". When they clear, card comes out of their slot.

    Good luck!
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    Just listen to what the people there say. I highly doubt they will let you sink.
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    "I take it you will not be using a CAD (computer aided dispatch system). CAD systems are nice in that they have preassigned priorities by call type.
    The systems I have used had your call type ( burglary, assault, personal injury collision etc) and a modifier relating to when it occurred ( In progress, Just occurred, Occurred earlier).
    The urgency of the call is a combination of the incident type and when it happened. An assault and battery that occurred earlier ( more than an hour ago) would be a lower priority than say a residential burglar alarm. An assault and battery in progress gets a priority response ( lights and siren).
    As a general rule calls with an immediate threat to life go first, then threat to property then basically information calls.

    Calls with a threat or potential threat to life /officer safety should get two officers at minimum.

    Your dispatch order (unless your agency has a different S.O.P.) should be beat car, secondary beat car, sector back up, adjoining beat car. When in doubt call the shift supervisor, tell them what you have holding and who you have available.

    I always tried to keep at least one unit plus the supervisor available. As soon as you have everyone committed on something you are going to get the domestic violence in progress call where the guy kills half his family.

    Remember to do status/welfare checks on your guys. If someone is out by their lonesome on a traffic stop and you haven't heard from them in ten minutes, check on them.
    If you have two units out together you can be a little more casual. If they are on something like a domestic though, check on them.
    Also, burglary occurred earlier should get two units. After they clear the house they can argue over who gets stuck with the report and who gets to go in service.

    If you are dispatching from cards, there should be a spot on the card to write in the primary unit. If you don't have spots running down the side or something for secondary units, write them on the back. Any information requests write on the back. Status checks, note on the back. When individual units clear put a single line through them and the time. If your dispatch console has card slots, mark a slot for each individual unit. The card with the call goes in the primary unit's slot. Back up units you can just put a card in their slot with a note like " with 1A1". When they clear, card comes out of their slot." {QUOTE} mcp1810

    Good luck!

    ^^^^^^^ This ^^^^^^^

    And lots of time on the job.

    A quality dispatcher is the officers safety net.

    OS
    "Violence is seldom the answer, but when it is the answer it is the only answer".

    "A nation of sheep breeds a government of wolves".

    http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/

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    Quote Originally Posted by SIXTO View Post
    Just listen to what the people there say. I highly doubt they will let you sink.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    this....and I doubt you'll be dipped in the grease, fed to the wolves, etc...you're there to get a taste of it from the other side of the radio
    we had to do the same thing in our FTO phase....1/2 a shift working the front counter, 1/2 a shift working in dispatch...though in our dispatch part it was observe the process so we know what they are doing on the other end of the phone/radio
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    They're not going to through you into the fire without someone keeping an eye on you. To do so would open themselves up to lawsuits if you were to royally screw up.
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    Not sure what to advise but back when I was in the mix, the dispatchers were very good at making the right calls between themselves. There was always a lieutenant on watch but he only got involved if the situation was really urgent.
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    Hold off on the AC130 gunships,predators and F16's until the shoplifter clears the building,collateral damage should be kept to one square block whenever possible
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    Anytime I had a hit on a stolen vehicle, warrants, or other "useful information", I always told the officer "return is back; clear for information?" That would tell him to move out of earshot or turn down the volume so the person in the stopped vehicle wasn't aware he was going to spend the night at the Graybar Hotel. If it was a clear return, I'd just tell him "(plate number/DL #/ Name) is clear NCIC and LEIN". Good luck, it's always fascinating and educational to have a road person in dispatch.
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    we have a system for that, we refer to it as an ID is clear if everything is ok, or checked on that 29, clear for status, if our officers hear 29, they know to step into their vehicles before saying go ahead
    "The value you put on the lost will be determined by the sacrifice you are willing to make to seek them until they are found."

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    Good luck, let us know how it goes.
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