The Communications section of the police department is "the heart" of the agency operations. Our communications officers (or radio operators) are responsible for many tasks including: answering incoming calls for service, responding to officers requests for information, dispatching calls, logging information, confirming warrants, entering warrants, and handling other types of incoming emergencies as well as non-emergencies. They also monitor several of our cameras located in different parts of the city-looking for suspicious activity. All of our dispatchers are well-trained experts at multi-tasking.
Before being able to work on their own, each communications officer goes through specialized training during which their daily performance is rated. At times, it becomes extremely busy and chaotic during their shifts, so being a dispatcher is not something just anyone can handle. Many candidates do not make it through the stressful, strenuous field training program. They have to be able to handle stressful situations on their own, use good judgment, and above all have a passion for the job. Right now, we are lucky to have 10 of the best, most dedicated communications officers with us. They work three different shifts, usually two per shift. And of course, they are available to answer calls 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Last year, our communications officers handled over 29,000 calls for service. Since the police department's main number is for both emergencies and non-emergencies, they've heard every type of call imaginable from homicides to objects stuck in the road, domestic disputes, robberies, and cats stuck up in trees. They are also responsible for communicating with other public safety agencies in the event that an incident is happening here in the city. One thing is for sure, they never know what kind of situation is going to present itself, but whatever it is-they are ready for it.
Here is some of the information our radio operators may ask you for when you call. (If you are reporting suspicious/drug activity-you may remain anonymous):
- Location where incident is happening
- Is anyone injured? What kind of injuries?
- Your name, address, phone number
- Description of vehicles (color, size, any special markings, how many people in it)
- Description of suspect (clothing, hair, eye color, shoes, is he or she carrying something?)
- Are there weapons involved? if so, what kind?
To report suspicious activity, please call 770-476-4151