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Chicago Makes Major Dispatching Change

Dispatchers in Chicago (Ill.) will no longer generate incidents for many types of situations reported by citizens, and are no longer have full responsibility for dispatching officers to non-emergency incidents. According to the city’s police superintendent, the changes are intended to create “beat integrity,” and allow officers to control the patrolling of their district without having to constantly drive from one incident to another. The police department and city Office of Emergency Communications (OEMC) have debated dispatching changes for several years without action. But today during a city council committee hearing, Sup. Garry McCarthy disclosed a list of changes that has already been made. First, McCarthy said, patrol sergeants in the field now can overrule a dispatcher’s assignment of a beat car if the sergeant feels it’s an inappropriate assignment. He said dispatchers work on the “clean screen” concept, trying to dispatch incidents as soon as they arrive. But, McCarthy the method results in officers being dispatched from adjacent beats to handle non-emergency incidents. Now, he said, incidents will be stacked until the beat officer becomes available. McCarthy also revealed that the police department will soon stop responding altogether to some types of incidents now reported on 911. He gave examples of, “My son won’t eat his dinner,” and “My children are fighting over the remote control.” Read more about the dispatching changes here.


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