Dispatcher Training Manual
Police Radio Dispatching
While performing the duties of radio dispatcher, the PSD is under the authority of the senior PSD. However, in matters pertaining to field operations, the requests and orders of all patrol sergeant shall be honored immediately. If the request is in conflict with any policy, procedure, regulation or law, you should consult the comm center sergeant--if immediately available--for his/her advice. If no comm center sergeant is available and the situation is not critical, you may choose to consult with a patrol sergeant about the matter on channel 2. However, never jeopardize the safety of citizens or officers by delaying a dispatch--send officers and consult with a sergeant later about the proper procedure.
The PSD performing radio dispatch duties has the sole authority to make incident assignments using the guidelines provided in written rules, regulations or procedures. While officers may question or challenge assignments, they should do so only thru a supervisor. However, if their question is one of beat assignment or jurisdiction, they may ask you directly and you should politely handle the question.
The radio dispatcher has responsibility for establishing priorities for all calls for service, dispatching calls via radio, co-ordinating field officers and their radio traffic, maintaining status of all units, disposing of all incidents and handling requests for service from field units.
The radio dispatcher must constantly scan the CAD display of unassigned incidents and determine which call to dispatch next, checking on the status of officers and maintaining radio contact with them. During emergencies, the radio dispatcher is the officer's officer's sole link to other officers and assistance.
During the radio dispatcher's tour on the "desk", he/she must devote complete attention to the radio and remain alert for every transmission. Often the radio reception is poor and the dispatcher must understand a transmission just from hearing part of a broadcast. Your proficiency directly bears upon the safety of every officer in the field. Any error or lapse of attention could have the gravest of consequences.
This attention and concentration establishes a positive control of the radio channel. It insures the safety of the officers and maximizes the use of police resources.
Just as important, there are many things that the radio dispatcher does not do, including calling for tows, notifying alarm companies, etc. You should learn to delegate such duties to the PSD's working as complaint dispatchers. If field officers ask you to order a tow, politely tell them "Channel 2 for dispatch."
The radio dispatcher sets the pace and tone for the entire patrol platoon. If you are short, "grouchy" or otherwise express your emotions on the radio, the patrol officers will begin to mirror those feelings. If you consistently ask officers to "10-9" or explain themselves, the officers will begin to feel they are "out of touch." Morale will suffer, productivity will go down and the job will generally become very unpleasant.
All transmissions should be business-like and use the minimum of words. You should never be argumentative, sarcastic or defensive. Conversation and personal names should not be used on the radio. Instead, you should use the codes, short standard phrases and badge numbers.
Remember that you simply provide information to the officers about what is happening and where. You do not "order" officers to go somewhere or to do something. This should be reflected in the tone of your voice and the words you use. For example...
Good--Impersonal --- "55, a 242 at 1918 Blake."
Poor--Authoritative --- "55, go to 1918 Blake and take a 242 report."
The radio dispatcher does not supervise the patrol forces and should not be critical of their behavior. You should not be concerned with how long an officer takes to complete a case, if their lunch period runs longer than 30 minutes, etc. If an officer is rude on the radio or refuses to handle a case, refer the matter to your supervisor, who will handle the matter with the patrol sergeant.
If an officer points out that you made a mistake, simply make the necessary correction without comment. Don't engage in a long explanation of how it happened or who is really to blame. For example..
If you feel it's necessary to discuss an incident more fully, have the officer call on the telephone when you have finished working Control for an explanation.
The dispatching operation often moves very quickly, so you should try not to dwell on one thing very long. As you make decisions, move on to the next operation. Don't ponder over the CAD screen or radio transmission. The quicker you can transition from one event to another, the more efficient you will become.
However, no matter how quickly things move, you will find that you do have a maximum speed. You should try to regulate on-going events to match your speed of operation. Use spare moments to do non-priorities so that, when an officer calls on the radio, you can answer immediately. Defer certain tasks until activity decreases. Delegate tasks to other dispatchers. Using a combination of these "tricks," you can easily keep up with the flow of activity.
A large part of the radio dispatcher's job in dealing with incidents and radio traffic is resolving the different levels of importance which exist. By policy, the police department establishes priorities for the handling of critical incidents--those involving weapons or potential injury to a citizen or officer. In many other cases the radio dispatcher must determine the priority based on current staffing, activity, location of officers, citizen information, location of the incident and the dispatcher's prior experience.
While you work you should remember that it is important which incident you dispatch first. It is vital which officer you tell to "stand by" on the radio. You should realize that the priorities you initially establish may have farreaching effects on citizens and/or officers several minutes or hours later.
Priorities for dispatching incidents are officially classified from 1 to 4, as follows:
Some questions about priorities are answered in this manual. Other questions can only be answered by your trainer when the situation occurs. Experience will be the best help in learning that priorities play an important part in police work and how you can make the right choices.
As explained earlier in this Manual, geograph is not essential, but it makes the job significantly easier. As a police radio dispatcher, you should be familiar with the basic geography of Oaktown, including the location of major landmarks, the Bay, the hills and the Oaktown University campus. You should have a sense of "where" the streets are generally located. You should be able to visualize a city block as a square surrounded by four streets.
With experience, you will learn the exact locations of streets, buildings and other landmarks. If you live in Oaktown or visit often, you'll begin to remember specific stores, restaurants and other public places which are visited by the police.
Most calls handled by the radio dispatcher will be from patrol officers wishing to obtain or give information about the cas they are currently handling. Only in rare cases will the radio dispatcher handle calls from citizens.
All channels of the radio shall be used only for short, essential messages. Lengthy or non-priority messages should be made on the telephone or in person. you should think before you broadcast, choosing and limiting your words so that they convey the message in the shortest transmission time, while not being cryptic. Don't repeat a field officer's transmission unnecessarily, but only if you want to confirm the message or to insure that other units have heard it.
You should never use names or familiar conversation on the radio, but rather badge numbers and business-like transmissions. For example...
You should use the phonetic alphabet (see Appendix) for license numbers, apartment numbers and other single-letter identifiers. Use the words "affirmative" and "negative" instead of "yes" and "no."
The VU meter next to the master XMIT button indicates the volume of your radio transmissions. A deflection of the needle to the center of the scale indicates that you have sufficient volume to be heard. If the needle consistantly moves lower, field units may not hear you. If the needle moves higher, your voice may be distorted by the radio system and you won't be understood.
Radio channel 1 is reserved for essential dispatching and co-ordination. Transmissions on channel 1 should always be short, to the point and pertain to business. Dispatchers should remember that officers may have an emergency at any time which would require a clear channel.
It is possible for an officer in the field to broadcast and be heard while the base station is transmitting. However, two field units cannot be received at the same time. Field officers should be encouraged to use channel 2 or the telephone to make lengthy transmissions. When using channel 1, officers should be encouraged to break their broadcast into smaller segments, with a short pause between them which would allow another officer with a priority to break in.
Channel 2 may be used for car-to-car broadcasts and any transmissions which are lengthy. It may also be used if channel 1 is inoperable because of a technical problem or an open mike.
Channel 3 is not designed to be used by the comm center, but rather between field units. However, you can use this channel by broadcasting on channel 2 and be listening on the channel 3 monitor speaker. In most cases, the reception range of channel 3 by the comm center is limited to less than one mile or about the central one-third of the city.
Channel 4 is used for telecomm inquiries and for non-priority car-to-car broadcasts, similar to channel 2.
The control dispatcher should have police channel 1 SELECTED and turned up to a suitable volume in the earphone. Channel 1 and 2 may be turned up on the UNSELECT speaker, if desired, but they should never distract from broadcasts on channel 1.
Officer Radio Setup
Most officers in the field have two radios available to them--their patrol car radio and a portable radio. While in or near their car, they can listen to two channels at once from the two radios. This occurs quite often when they use channel 4 to obtian warrant or registration information on a vehicle.
Once they leave their car, they usually can hear only one channel. If they make a field stop on a car and switch to channel 4 on their portable radio, they will hear only channel 4 broadcasts. Sometimes officers will open their passenger side door while on a car stop so they can hear channel 1 on the car radio and channel 4 on their portable radio.
You should try to visualize the officers radio setup so that you'll understand how they might hear you and on what radio, and why they might not hear you.
Attention to Radio
All transmissions, including sounds of static or clicking, on channel 1 are to be acknowledged immediately, regardless of what else you are doing. The acknowledgment can merely be "Stand by", "last unit unreadable" or it may be a complete message. If you continue to receive unreadable transmissions and you cannot account for them, you may need to give every patrol officer a "ring."
If you receive simultaneous transmissions, you should tell one officer to stand-by and tell the other to "Go ahead." However, you should consider which officer to tell "Stand by," depending on what assignment they are on, where they are, if they have cover, etc. The officer in the least, current jeopardy should be told to stand by. If you're unsure, ask one officer "Do you have priority traffic?" If they answer "No," tell them to stand by and let the officer broadcast.
It's mandatory that you acknowledge the message and not tell the officer to "standby" for car or pedestrian stops, calls for cover or pursuits. If it becomes necessary for you to concentrate your attention on a radio channel other than channel 1, or on the telephone for a short period of time, you should tell officers "Hold all but emergency traffic. I'm on the phone (or on channel 2)" so you will not miss an important transmission.
The police department uses codes when talking on the radio, in order to shorten the transmissions and to improve clarity by standardization. You should learn this "ten-code" and be able to fluently express yourself with it.
A complete list of the ten-code is contained in a booklet which your instructor will give you. Most of the codes are self-explanatory; however, several are listed here for further clarification.
Code 1, 2 & 3 refers to the speed of response by an officer to an incident. Explanations and examples are given later in this section.
Code 4 indicates that no further assistance is needed at the scene of an incident. If a suspect is still in the area, the officer will indicate. Code 5....indicates that an officer is observing a location for possible criminal activity and advises other units to avoid the area.
Code 33 with or without radio tone, restricts radio traffic to emergencies only during a critical incident, such as a pursuit or crime in progress
Code 34 indicates that normal radio traffic may resume after a Code 33
901 indicates that an officer is in plainclothes, usually in an unmarked unit, such as "55, I'm 901 in the area."
10-0 indicates that the officer(s) should use caution because of information received on the premises or subject, such as "19, 10-0. The RP says that the subject has access to a handgun."
11-99 officer needs help, all units respond Code 3.
For purposes of establishing job responsibility, the city has been divided into four patrol districts, with either two or three beats in each district. Depending upon the time of day, one or more officers are assigned to each beat.
Beats boundaries usually run down the center of streets, which means that an incident occurring in the street could be in one beat or the other. At some intersections, four beats boundaries meet, making it necessary to determine in which quadrant the incident occurred before assigning a beat number.
The patrol districts are numbered from one to four in a clockwise fashion, beginning with the northeast quadrant. Beats within each district are lettered from A to C. Individual beats are identified by both their district number and beat letter. For example, 1A, 3C, 4B, etc.
During the period 0200 to 1100, only one team is on patrol. During all other times there are two teams patrolling. A typical day goes like this--
There are two methods of identifying units, both for calling them on the radio and for entering them into CAD. The first method uses a letter (A-Z) and the officer's badge number, such as M123 or F18. The second method uses both letters and numbers to create a three-part ID, according to the following--
Then, an individual patrol unit ID might be 7A11, 2A23, 3B44, etc.
From 10:00a.m. to 2:00a.m. the 16-beat plan is in effect. The city is divided into 16 beats and the status board reflects that. From 2:00a.m. until 10:00a.m., when fewer incidents are handled and fewer officers are on the street, the 10-beat plan is in effect. In this configuration, beats are numbered from 1 to 16, but some adjacent beats are combined so that not all beat numbers are present. The accompanying maps show the beat plans for the two time periods.
During each patrol team meeting, one of the patrol sergeants will fill out a sheet showing what officers are working and where they will be assigned. A copy of this "timesheet" is given to the radio dispatcher at the beginning of the shift so that they may be entered into CAD.
The timesheet lists the officers assigned to the team, their beat assignments, any officers working overtime and any leave, trades, etc. taken by the officers.
Whenever you take over the police radio position from another PSD, you should exhange information on the status of all officers and any special incidents which have occurred. Consistancy of operation is especially important after a shift change, so that you can understand the status of all officers and incidents.
If you are going off, explain what each officer is doing. Point out any special cases, such as officers who are out of the city, are going home early, etc. You should insure that officers on vehicle stops have understandable locations. If there are incidents with special circumstances awaiting dispatch, explain them to the on-coming PSD.
If you are taking over the position, quickly familiarize yourself with each officer's status, noting the location and type of incident. Quickly display the unassigned incidents for priority Make sure you understand everything before the off-going PSD leaves.
In order to efficiently assign officers to incidents, it is vital to know the status and location of every patrol officer at all times. The CAD status screen helps you keep track of status. But you must also rely on your memory to provide more information about an officer's location, the nature of the incident and the officer's exact location.
Whenever the status of an officer changes, you should immediately reflect it by entering it into CAD. When you assign an officer to an incident, you should immediately enter the appropriate CAD commands to assign the officer to the incident.
Scanning Unassigned Incidents
When an unassigned incident is displayed on the screen, you should quickly display to read the comments and determine its priority. The location and beat of the call are scanned next, to determine if the beat assignment is correct and if the beat officer is in-service. The incident is then either dispatched immediately or added to the other incidents awaiting dispatch.
The amount and quality of information broadcast has an immediate and vital bearing on the safety of responding officers. It could also form the basis for a pedestrian or vehicle stop, which could lead to an arrest, a charge by the District Attorney and a trial. It might even become the basis for an officer using his/her gun, resulting in the injury or death of a suspect. It is therefore vital that the CD obtain complete and accurate information and for the RD to broadcast it completely and accurately as entered in CAD.
Once you've scanned the unassigned incidents, dispatching officers is not simply seeing who's in service and who has a call pending. You must take into account the incident's priority, who will be coming in service shortly, who's on Code 7 and may be coming 10-8, who is close to the incident, who's taken off-beat cases, etc.
Try to think several incidents ahead, like a chess match. Determine what incident should be dispatched next and how many officers should be sent. Check the status screen for available officers. If officers are available, dispatch the call. If no officers are available, check what other officers are doing. Are they on car stops or 10-17? Will they be returning from Code 7 shortly? Are they handling a non-priority parking matter? If so, they may be assigned to the call now or as they become available.
After you've planned the current call and before you dispatch it, look at the next call. Do you have officers for that incident? Again, ask yourself if officer's will become available shortly. Can the officers you're sending to the first call handle the second call after they've finished?
Your trainer will explain the fine points of planning ahead for dispatching incidents. It's an important skill for a good dispatcher who intends to efficiently manage the resources that are always in short supply at the police department.
You should develop a consistent, standardized format and terminology so that the field officers understand you and know what to expect. For single-officer incidents, the form of the dispatch is--unit(s) due, location, nature of call, as follows:
Note that the officer is first called by badge number and is given the type of incident that will be dispatched. This allows the officer to tell you to go ahead or allows the officer to get to a position to write the dispatch information on paper.
The address where the officer should go is always given first, then the details of the incident. If other locations are involved--the crime occurred somewhere else or another person is involved, don't confuse the officer with those addresses during the dispatch. Simply give the address where to contact the citizen.
When more than one officer will be assigned, a crime is in progress or the responsible in still at the scene, control may use the single broadcast method of dispatch as follows:
In either type of dispatch, if an officer does not acknowledge the dispatch, continue to call until a response is received from that officer, such as "22, do you copy Blake Street call?" If the call is urgent and the assigned officer does not answer within 20-30 seconds, then an alternate officer should be assigned immediately.
When only a single officer is available for a call requiring two officers, control should use the following format to obtain a cover officer:
Once the first officer has acknowledge, Control must continue to obtain a cover officer, as follows:
When no officers are available to handle a priority 1 incident, the call should be broadcast "flat" to all officers, as follows:
Such a broadcast might solicit a response from officers which will be coming in service shortly and will alert out-of-service officers to a nearby crime in progress. If no officers respond to the initial call and no officer becomes available to handle it, it should be repeated as necessary until officers are available to handle the call--perhaps at 3-4 minute intervals for an alarm, more often for a crime in progress. Note that only emergencies should be broadcast flat.
Descriptions and Information
Once the initial broadcast has been made assigning the officers to an incident and they have acknowledged, you may then give a follow-up broadcast with additional information, such as the presence of any weapons, suspect description, previous history, prior calls, the RP's name or other anything else important for officer safety.
You should try to translate the description in CAD into the proper order as you broadcast it, that is, race/sex, age, height/weight, clothing (shirt, jacket, pants, other), as follows:
"Responsible is a WM, blue tennis "Responsible is a white male, 35 years,
about 35 years old, white blond hair, white beard, white T-shirt,
T-sht, green pants, white beard green pants, blue tennis shoes.
Note how the description goes from top to bottom and the race, sex and age are at the beginning.
Statistics show that the quicker police arrive at a crime scene, the higher the apprehension rate. Therefore, it is important that calls be dispatched quickly. However, because of the volume of calls for police service that are received, it's necessary to establish priorities.
The CAD software displays unassigned incidents in priority order. Each incident' s priority is based on its activity type code, which has pre-determined by the police and fire departments. For example, burglaries in progress are classified as Priority 1, while parking problems are classified as Priority 3. All fire incidents are classified as Priority 1.
However, it's common that several incidents with the same priority will be waiting for dispatch. In this case, the radio dispatcher has authority to determine which call to dispatch first. The senior PSD has the authority to over-ride that decision at any time, consistent with other policies.
On calls with the same priority code, the first call received first should be dispatched first, altho you may consider the caller's situation, such as standing by on a street corner, waiting at home, waiting in an isolated area, etc. when deciding which call to dispatch first. You should not make a distinction between traffic and criminal matters which have the same priority.
All reports of crimes in progress shall receive first priority (Priority 1), without regard to the nature of the offense. Within this category, crimes against persons have priority over crimes of property. However, the presence of weapons, number of persons or potential dangers to citizens shall always be considered by the dispatcher when determining incident priority. Examples of priority 1 calls are:
Calls not requiring immediate response but still important shall receive next priority (Priority 2) such as:
Priority 3 calls are those which can wait for a period of time without jeopardy, such as:
The basis for establishing response is partly based on previous crime experience and partly on the facts as described by the caller. The complaint dispatcher should enter enough details in CAD to allow the radio dispatcher to easily determine a call's priority. Factors such as presence of weapons, number of people, prior violent history and the extent of the area to be covered will determine how many officers will be dispatched.
Generally, any time a crime is reported in progress or just prior, weapons are involved or there are several responsibles involved in an incident, send two or more officers.
The following minimum policy is to be followed:
Depending on the nature of the crime and availability of officers, additional officers may respond to assist.
Despite these rules, the primary officer assigned to the incident may choose to respond without cover by advising control "Code 4." However, if other officers are available, a cover car shall be told respond to the general area in case a problem develops, such as:
"For 99 and 102, 99 and 102. 415f in the street, 1902 Blake. One-nine-oh-two Blake, 415f, no descriptions." "99 check. I'll handle Code 4." "Check 99, Code 4. 102, can you just stay in the area?" "102 check."
You should always be alert for additional requests for assistance by an officer on a car or pedestrian stop or who is handling an incident. Such a broadcast may take several forms and might be made only once, depending on the situation and the individual officer, such as:
On those occasions when no officers are not 10-8 to provide cover, you may need to reassign officers currently on another assignment to respond to the cover. In these cases, determine which officers are on non-priority, report-only cases and which might be close enough to respond. Then assign the officers as:
Once you have determined the priority and the number of officers to respond, you determine which officer(s) should be dispatched, as follows:
You should always attempt to dispatch a specific officer or officers to an incident. Avoid dispatches of "Any officer to respond" or "Any officer to cover."
When sending officers to a return call of a family fight, attempt to dispatch the same officers or have the handling officer talk to the previous officers on channel 2.
Whenever a beat is not assigned an officer, or "open", other officers will have to handle incidents occurring on that beat. The Control dispatcher should make these assignments based on who is closest, who is 10-8 and what other cases surrounding officers have already handled. When an officer handles an off-beat crime report, a notation should be made on the status board, such as a black "tick" mark. The marks should be used to insure that all officers are handling an equal number of cases on the open beat.
Normally, beat officers handle all cases on their beat. However, cases should be reassigned after a certain period of time as follows:
If the beat officer is on Code 7 or you can determine that he/she will become available shortly, you may hold the case until the officer comes 10-8. Also, if after you reassign the case to an off-beat officer, the beat officer requests you to hold the case, you may do so.
When assigning the officer, you should indicate why they are taking an off-beat case, such as:
Officers dispatched to incidents shall respond according to the necessity of arriving quickly and the safety of the public and themselves. The official code responses are:
By policy, you shall only dispatch an officer Code 3, and officers may only respond as directed by the comm center--
You shall take into consideration the above guidelines, the number of officers available to respond and their distance from the incident when determining the response code. You must be able to articulate these reasons for dispatching an officer Code 3, if requested. Unless additional circumstances exist, you shall dispatch officers according to these general guidelines:
More specifically, you should dispatch as follows:
In some cases the field officer will choose to respond Code 3 based on information you, other officers or citizens have given. In these cases the radio dispatcher shall co-ordinate the response of other officers to the incident to insure safety by restricting which officer are responding Code 3.
Whenever an officer declares a Code 4 at the scene of the emergency, you should rebroadcast the location and "Code 4" so that any officers responding Code 3 may reduce their response.
Police General Order 2.05 pertains to the operation and dispatch of police vehicles and code responses.
Delays in Dispatching
In most cases it is impossible to assign an officer to a cold report of a crime immediately. Most citizens understand this and do not expect a quick response. However, after 30 minutes, many citizens worry that we've "forgotten" them or lost their incident.
To reassure them, you or a complaint dispatcher should attempt to call back victims if you cannot assign an officer within 30 minutes. Tell the person "I'm sorry, but we don't have an officer available to take your report. We still have your information and we'll send an officer as soon as one is available." If there are specific reasons for the delay, such as a shooting, accident, etc., briefly explain them to the victim--most citizens will be quite understanding.
You should never ask the person if they want to cancel their call. If they ask how much longer it will be, explain the system of priorities the comm center uses and that any time estimate you give could change. If you can give them a rough estimate of response time, do so. But in all cases, let the citizen decide if they cannot wait for service.
After you talk to the original reporting person, note their response in the comments section of the incident record.
Use of Reserves
Police reserve officers may be assigned to handle certain cases and may provide assistance and cover at all incidents. General Order 8.0 specifies which cases a reserve officer may handle.
Reserve officers are most commonly assigned as the second or cover officer for alarms, domestic disputes, to handle minor traffic accidents, to standby with prisoners or witnesses and to cover open beats. However, the GO's do specify many types of reports and incidents that they may handle, either when regular officers are not available or when there are more incidents than officers.
Reserves assigned to special details such as the marina, football games or other pre-assigned events may not be used for patrol functions except at the direction of a sergeant.
When the first arriving officer reports "10-97", change the officer's status to "arrived."
The incident may contain a victim's name, a reporting party or simply "unknown refused." Sometimes a name, address and telephone number will be given but the person requests "no contact." You should make it clear to the handling officer if the name of a person is in CAD or if the caller was "unknown refused" (U/R). You should tell the officer if the person specifically wants contact or doesn't want contact, as indicated in CAD.
If the caller is the victim of a crime, you may assume they want contact and a report taken. If the caller is a witness only, contact will depend on what the officer finds at the scene and the caller's preference as stated in CAD--"no contact" means just that. If a crime is involved, the officer will probably want to contact the witness to obtain information. If the incident does not amount to a crime, the officer may choose not to contact the witness.
You should use discretion when broadcasting a victim's or witness' name and address on the radio once the officers are on the scene of an incident. If an officer has stopped a suspect or may be near other citizens, you should ask the officer to switch to channel 2 and then give the information. In some cases, you may ask the officer "Are you 10-36?" before broadcasting the information.
At the beginning of each year, a block of case numbers is set aside for certain types of incidents, such as those involving other agencies (highway patrol, University PD, transit PD, etc.), training activities and other administrative incidents. A list of these numbers is kept on the bulletin board for the infrequent times that you may need to refer to it.
In certain cases of continuing offenses, a single case number is used to identify all subsequent offenses. Master case numbers are usually identified by the Detective Division and do not apply to normal vehicle burglaries or thefts by the same person. If DD identifies a master case number, it should remain posted near the radio dispatcher's position for future reference.
Callers will sometimes request advice of an officer concerning a previouslyreported crime or incident. After handling the call, the officer will indicate that it pertains to a prior case and will give the incident number. Enter the number in the comments section of the CAD incident.
When the handling officer reports "10-8" from an incident, enter the proper disposition code in the CAD incident record. The only possible dispositions are:
Each incident must have the offense, name, address and telephone number of the victim in the appropriate spaces of the CAD incident. It is important that you scan each incident as the officer goes 10-8 to determine that the information is complete and that complete victim is included. In addition...
If a burglary, indicate if it's of an auto, the means of entry (window smash, open door, lock pick, door smash, etc.) and generally what items were taken (wallet and ID, stereo, TV and clothes, etc.).
If an auto accident, indicate the exact location, either at an intersection or "Terrace Ave. 200 S. of Wilson St." If an injury accident, include the name, address and telephone of the victim.
Because the daily bulletin is printed from information in CAD, it's important to include any suspect vehicle or person or descriptions of stolen or lost property. In particular, confirm the license plate, year and make/model of stolen vehicles and include them in the incident comments.
The dispatcher shall see that the time of occurrence and location are complete. If the incident occurred at an intersection, the quadrant (NE, SE, SW, NW) shall be indicated.
Change of Shift
The hour surrounding officer shift changes can be very busy and often results in confusion if the radio dispatcher fails to keep track of all field officers and their status.
Officers going off duty should not be assigned crime reports within 15 minutes of their returning to the station. However, they may handle noise complaints, other MSC calls or NCIR's. They may also be assigned to cover in-progress crimes and to standby at incidents requiring a report until an officer coming on-duty can arrive to handle.
About five minutes prior to the change, the radio dispatcher should check the status of all officers going off duty. Pending incidents should be examined for completeness. If the name of the victim or person arrested is missing or the disposition is not indicated, the dispatcher should ask the handling officer on the radio to call the comm center with the information.
Just before clearing the officers to come in, the dispatcher should close ut any remaining incidents, again insuring they are complete.
The off-going shift comes in at forty-five minutes past the hour. The on-coming shift breaks from their team meeting on the hour. Sometimes this will be delayed because of training or lengthy discussions. During this period 15-minutes period, there is only one team patrolling the streets. If a Priority 1 incident is received, you must dispatch one or more officers from the remaining team to handle until the on-coming team hits the street.
If there is a "hot" call in progress, a block cover, chase or other situation at shift change that requires officers to stay in the field, delay calling in the officers. This is true even if no off-going officers are involved. The situation may change or something else may occur where you need them. Wait until the priority situation has been resolved before calling the officers in.
Once you've decided to call the officers in, they should be given "rings" in the following format:
Don't forget to give rings to the sergeants, the lieutenant and any reserves working. Officers on code 7 or who have already come in should receive rings, such as:
If an officer is still in the field, do not give him/her a ring, but continue to keep status on them until they advise you that they are enroute to or at the Hall of Justice. Likewise, don't skip an officer just because you believe they are off duty or at the H of J.
After shift change, purge the officer's ID from CAD.
You should then confer with the PSD who will assume radio dispatching, giving the status of the officers, any special situations (officer at hospital, standing by at the hospital, etc.) and an explanation of any incidents you are leaving behind. You should also tell the PSD of any special incidents which occurred and point out any "look out" messages or suspect descriptions.
A critical function of the Comm Center is the coordination of field units for the preservation of life and the safety. At any time, a situation may arise in which the life of an officer or citizen is dependent upon the accurate and expedient response of personnel after a radio broadcast or a telephone call.
If a field officer is in trouble and needs assistance, he/she will use the radio code "eleven ninety-nine." This may be the only words the officer can say, altho they may be able to give their badge number and location, too. The radio dispatcher's immediate response to an 11-99 is to broadcast the officer's location and repeat "11-99." If the officer is not assigned to a case and no location is known, the officer's last known location should be broadcast as "last location, ......."
The Code 33 tone should be started. The officer's location shall be repeated, as well as any business name, apartment number, floor, cross-street or other information which will expedite finding the officer. An incident should also be created in case a report is required as a result of the incident.
The complaint dispatcher shall immediately broadcast the 11-99 on the intercom all-call so station officers are aware of the call.
When an 11-99 is broadcast, all officers respond Code 3, regardless of their assignment or status and it is not necessary for the radio dispatcher to specifically assign officers to respond.
Once a 11-99 is requested, only the officer who made the request may announce "Code 4." This insures that responding officers actually have reached the officer who needs the assistance. For example:
If a citizen reports an officer needs help and no broadcast has been received from the officer, the complaint dispatcher taking the call will broadcast the location and "11-99." The radio dispatcher should immediately determine what officer(s) might be at the location and ask them for their status, such as "32, 11-97." If no answer is received, you should repeat the 11-99 request, the location and the nature of the original call, if any.
You should distinguish between an officer asking a citizen to call for help and a citizen reporting that an officer needs help. In the former case, you should immediately assign an two officers Code 2 to the location. In the latter case, the complaint dispatcher will broadcast an 11-99.
Whenever it is necessary to restrict the use of a radio channel to emergencies, control or field units may request a Code 33. On channel 1, control should acknowledge the Code 33 by repeating the location and type of call and by activating the tone signal on all channels. If the officer requests a "silent" Code 33, do not activate the tone signal, but simply broadcast the location and call type. For example:
"23, Code 33 here. "All cars. Code 33 for 1508 Russell, 459 in progress." OR "23, silent Code 33 for Russell Street." "All cars. Silent Code 33 for 1508 Russell, 459 in progress."
Once a Code 33 is in effect on channel, most officers will switch to channel 2 and monitor it for other assignments. If you have another priority call during the Code 33, broadcast on channel 1 "19 and 23, 10-6 to channel 2." When the officers answer on channel 2, give them the incident information normally.
If the Code 33 situation becomes lengthy, say over 15 minutes, the officers may prefer to switch to channel 2, leaving channel 1 open for routine traffic. You should then switch the officers by saying, "All officers on Blake Street, 10-6 to channel 2." Then, give each involved officer a "ring" on channel 2.
There is no Code 33 tone signal available for channel 2, so simply broadcast the Code 33 on channels 1 and 2 as:
You should then assign a telephone dispatcher to stop answering telephone calls and to monitor channel 2 to co-ordinate any requests from the officers and to listen for any problems.
You may need to periodically re-broadcast the Code 33 to remind officers on channel 1 who do not hear the Code 33 tones. You may also have to remind officers on channel 2, where there is no tone, to use channel 4 for non-priority broadcasts.
Normally the radio dispatcher does not indicate a direction of approach for officers responding to an incident. However, when the caller can give information that would suggest a particular method of approach, that information shall be relayed to the units, who shall then determine how to respond. As the units indicate from where the are responding, and to where they are going, control should mark their numbers on the map.
Once at the scene, control can take some responsibility for co-ordinating units, supplying them with information on cross streets, unit locations and additional units responding. For example...
Note that control did not assign officers to specific locations but, upon request of the responding units, did assign additional units to another location.
The most common approach for burglaries in progress, alarms with someone seen inside, etc., is a least one officer from opposite ends of the block and an officer at the address behind the incident address. Additional officers could be assigned to assist the officers approaching from the sides.
If you repeat an officer's broadcast for another officer, you must repeat it exactly as the officer said it. If you're not sure, ask. Don't change the wording or leave words out. The officer might have used specific words for a particular reason and your changes could change the entire meaning of his broadcast.
Officer's making field stops of pedestrians or vehicles will radio an "11-94", "11-95" or "11-96". These contacts are entered into CAD with the exact location of the stop, the license number of the vehicle and a description of the vehicle.
Because field stops are potentially dangerous situations, these broadcasts take priority over virtually all other activity you might be doing, including talking on the telephone, dispatching routine incidents and taking dispositions.
The radio format for field stops is as follows:
Note that the location of the stop is given, the license number using the phonetic alphabet, the color and make of vehicle and if assistance is needed. The officer will also indicate if the vehicle is a motorcycle, van, pickup, truck or other special vehicle. If the officer stops a pedestrian, he/she will indicate the race and sex of the person being stopped.
Officers usually broadcast the stop information while they are still driving. The vehicle being stopped may continue for some distance and stop beyond where the officer originally stated. It is common for the officer to amend the location after stopping the vehicle by saying "The stop will be on University at 7th St., control."
It is vital that a correct and complete location be obtained for all stops. If the officer later requires assistance, he/she may not be able to repeat the location. If there is any doubt about the location broadcast, ask the officer to repeat it, such as "Confirming, you're at University and 4th?" If you missed only part of the transmission, ask "55, letters only on the plate?"
You should create a CAD traffic stop incident with this information as the officer gives it to you. Be careful to enter the location correctly--you may need to refer to it later if the officer radios for assistance.
If an officer does not answer your 11-97, you should try again on channels 2 and 4. If you after two or three calls on the radio, dispatch another officer to the last known location to determine the welfare of the officer.
Pursuits or "hot chases" involving police officers and suspects are a serious hazard to those involved and other vehicles and citizens on the road. Usually the suspect has nothing to lose and drives without regard to traffic signals, stop signs or the speed limit. Officers, on the other hand, must always regard the safety of others during the pursuit.
Officers involved in a pursuit should be using their emergency lights and siren. They will radio a Code 33, which you should rebroadcast immediately. They will then broadcast their location and direction, then the vehicle description and reason for the original stop. For example...
While it is the officer's responsibility to continue broadcast locations and directions, as well as additional pertinent information about the vehicle, you may have to prompt the officer for the information. In some cases, the second officer in the chase will do all the radio broadcasting and the first officer will concentrate on driving.
You or the fire dispatcher should mark the path of the pursuit on the map with crayon for latter reference. If the chase is in the west end, you should consider dispatching officers to the three freeway entrances.
If the chase appears heading for another jurisdiction or the freeway, the complaint dispatcher should telephone the other agency and give them the description and reason for the original stop.
Police General Orders prohibit an officer from blocking, ramming or otherwise taking physical action against a fleeing vehicle. The General Orders also spell out when an officer may fire his weapon. Therefore, under no circumstances shall you give such permission if asked by the pursuing officer. Such questions shall be referred to the comm center sergeant or patrol sergeant.
The principle during pursuits is for other officers to parallel the chase, rather than forming a long line of pursuing vehicles. Officers 1-3 blocks on either side of the vehicle have a much better chance of catching suspects who leave the car and run into the block.
Occasionally you may hear transmissions that you cannot identify. These may be from officers with an open mike or static from many sources. All transmissions that you hear should be acknowledged with "Last car, repeat." If the transmission had a voice in it, you should immediately check which officers are on car stops, at domestic disturbances, fights or other critical calls. You should then give these officers "rings", asking "55, 11-97." If any officer does not answer, you should send another officer to their location to check on their welfare.
Multiple Calls of an Incident
It is not uncommon to receive several calls for a single incident. The telephone dispatchers should question each caller carefully to insure that they are not reporting a separate incident. Each caller reporting crimes should be questioned about what they see, in the event that their observations may provide valuable information to the officers already responding.
The radio dispatcher should carefully read subsequent CAD entries reporting the same incident and be alert for additional information that could be broadcast to officers already responding. In some cases, the incident may indicate an additional victim or witness or that the original situation has changed. The subsequent calls may indicate that additional officers need to be dispatched or, in some cases, that officers already on the scene are in trouble but cannot radio for assistance.
If several incidents pertain to one incident, reference all them in the comments of the original incident and all subsequent incidents.
RP Call Backs
Sometimes the officer is unable to locate the exact address or the reporting party and will request that Control call the person back. If this occurs, call the victim's or RP's telephone number, tell them that an officer is outside and for them to go to the door to see the officer. Then tell the officer "Mr. Johnson will step outside."
Extra Surveillance information should be radioed to the officer handles the location on channel 2.
Oaktown officers or other jurisdictions sometimes request that "Be On The Lookout" be broadcast. Most commonly this will involve missing persons or stolen/wanted vehicles. They will prepare an information sheet describing the vehicle or person and send it to the comm center. The radio dispatcher shall broadcast the information as soon as possible, taking into consideration other pending radio traffic and officers in-service. The format of the broadcast is as follows:
"Oaktown cars, information broadcast for 10851 (etc.)." [pause 1-5 seconds]
"All cars, (wanted, stop and ID, be on the lookout for) the following (person, vehicle). (description)....(wanted, stop & ID, be on the lookout)."
Note that the reason for the broadcast is repeated twice--at the beginning and the end. Any license plates or names should also be repeated so that officers may write them down.
Whenever a suspect flees the police and runs into the block, the dispatcher should immediately assign officers to take posts which surround the block, preventing the escape of the suspect. This "block cover" consists of officers at each of the four corners and officers at points mid-block and roving in vehicles. The dispatcher may use the block cover forms to record the officer's ID and location of all officers assigned to the block cover.
Immediately upon hearing that a suspect has fled into the block, the dispatcher should assign an officer to the opposite side of the block to prevent the suspect from escaping the block straight thru the block. The next officers should next be assigned to two opposite corners, either NE and SW or NW and SE. Next, available officers should be assigned to the remaining two corners, then midblock, then roving.
Officers should then be assigned to begin a block search, usually from one end of the block to the other. If a suspect is sighted during the search, all officers should be told to hold their posts because, if any officer leaves, there is the possibility of the suspect escaping.
If the suspect is able to leave the block and is spotted by an officer, the dispatcher should move officers to cover off the new area. This is done by "leap frogging" the officers to the new block. Officers away from the new block should be moved to positions beyond the suspect while officers on the street the suspect crossed should remain in position. Often, officers on roving posts will be able to assume the new cover positions.
In cases when a block search has been unsuccessful, the suspect may leave the scene after officers have left. In these cases, an officer may be assigned to a post one or two blocks away after other officers have left. The unit should be in a position to observe anyone leaving one side of the block while remaining out of sight.
Telephone messages from citizens should be broadcast to the officer as soon as practical. In most cases, you should wait until the officer is 10-8 from a case. However, if the message pertains to that case or is urgent, you may broadcast it at any time. Personal messages should be given on channel 2 only. Since the officer must write down most messages, the following format is suggested:
Every patrol officer is entitled to a 45-minute meal break sometime during the shift. This is termed "going out on Code 7". On some platoons, specific meal times have been assigned to officers based on their beat assignment. However, cases in progress may prevent the officer from taking his meal break at the assigned time. Generally, if a case is pending on an officer's beat, he/she cannot go out on Code 7.
In most cases, it will be the responsibility of control to send officers out on meal breaks, taking into consideration the time of day, level of activity in the city, activity in beats, the number of pending cases, and other officers who are already out-of-service on Code 7.
Generally, it is best to geographically separate those going on Code 7 so that large areas of the city are not left without coverage. Thus, you may decide to send out officers on beats 1 and 12, but not beats 5 and 7. You may send out more than one officer at a time, altho during most hours you will be limited by activity to two or three officers at a time. You may overlap the time of officers' Code 7's so that you send one out and, about fifteen minutes later, another officer returns.
Officers may, with the approval of a platoon sergeant, take "the last 45", meaning that they leave 45 minutes early in lieu of taking a meal break. The sergeant may ask Control if any other officers have requested the last 45, if there are any open beats or if it's quiet/busy.
When an officer goes out on Code 7, mark a red "X" near his badge or beat number on the status board.
Officers on Code 7 may be required to respond to emergency calls, such as officer needs help, or they may be recalled for major incidents or investigations. However, this is uncommon and would only be at the request of a sergeant.
Cancellation of Call
You may be notified by the complaint dispatcher that a reporting party has called back to cancel a call. If you have not dispatched an officer yet, enter a disposition code of "CAN" and close out the incident.
If you have already dispatched officers, cancel their response by radioing "99 and 15, 10-22 on a callback," then receive an acknowledgement from both of them.
When two or more officers broadcasts at the same time, either one or none of the broadcasts is heard. The transmissions usually sounds like "Martian" talk and sometimes you can faintly hear one officers voice clearly.
When this occurs, do not simply say "Last officer, 10-9." This will cause both officer to repeat their broadcasts, again covering. Instead, try to identify one of the calling officers or, if you can't do that, at least some part of one of the transmissions. Then you should tell one officer to stand by and have the officer go head. Such as:
When deciding which officer to have standby and which to go ahead, you should very quickly evaluate which officer might have priority traffic. Requests for assistance, car stops and officers arriving at incidents should be granted priority. Those giving 10-97's, going out Code 7 and requesting non-priority information should be told to standby.
If two transmissions cover each other but you can still understand one of them, always acknowledge with the badge number so everyone will know which officer you did hear, such as:
"kdwl dico wnix 55, I'm 10-8 qmcoss dybcuy."
"55, check. other car go ahead."
Officers sometimes place their radio microphones in such a way that the transmit button is pressed accidentally, causing an "open mike." When this occurs, they are unable to receive transmissions and do not know their radio is transmitting.
If this occurs, press the ALERT button once and broadcast "Cars, we have an open mike. Check your mikes." This will alert the officer if he/she is standing near another officer with a radio. Do not continue to repeat such broadcasts, however, as it does little good in alerting the offending officer. Next, have the telephone dispatcher broadcast an all-call on the intercom that there is an open mike, in case the officer is in the Hall of Justice.
Lastly, in many cases the transmission will start and stop several times as the button is pressed repeatedly. When the transmissions ends for the first time, press the ALERT button quickly and broadcast "Cars, we had an open mike. Check your mikes."
If the transmission persists and the offending radio cannot be found, switch all patrol operations to channel 2 by broadcasting "All units, 10-6 to channel 2. 10-6 to channel 2." After waiting about 30 seconds, give "rings" on channel 2 to all on-duty units to insure that all units have switched. If you cannot receive a ring from an officer, you should investigate his/her location, as they may be the source of the open mike.
If a jail alarm is received, immediately broadcast the alarm and location on channel 1. A complaint dispatcher will broadcast the alarm on the intercom and deliver the jail keys to the responding officers. When a Code 4 is broadcast, repeat it on channel 1.
These calls are Priority 1. An officer and sergeant should be dispatched immediately to the vicinity of the location. Because certain explosive devices are subject to detonation by radio waves, expect the responding units to be off their radio while near the scene.
Incidents involving hazardous materials (HAZMAT) are Priority 1. At least two officers and a sergeant should be dispatched to the area to meet with the fire department incident commander, usually the Assistant Chief.
The Fire Department is responsible for all HAZMAT incidents, while the police assist with crowd and traffic control, and any necessary evacuations.
Incidents involving dead bodies are Priority 1 unless the Fire Department is on the scene and can verify a natural cause death. An officer and supervisor should be dispatched to all dead bodies. The coroner should not be notified until requested by the handling officer.
Out of City Victims
Oaktown will respond to other cities to take reports of major crimes, such as kidnapping, rape, robbery or attempted murder. We will not respond to take reports of burglary, vehicle theft or auto accidents.
This situation occurs most frequently with kidnapping and sexual assault cases where the victim is taken from Oaktown and dropped off in another city. These cases are handled Priority 1. You should immediately notify a patrol sergeant and give him/her the information on the Oaktown location, the time element and victim's current location. The sergeant will indicate how to handle the incident.
All reports of persons down or unconscious shall be Priority 1 and two officers should respond. If the caller reports visible injuries or other circumstances, the Fire Department should also respond.
Incidents of missing, not runaway, juveniles are Priority 1. A single officer should be dispatched immediately and other officers should be assigned to assist as necessary. You should also advise a patrol sergeant of the call.
If the juvenile is age 9 or younger, you shall immediately notify the Comm Center supervisor so that certain notifications can be made to Detective Division personnel.
The city's Mental Health Department staffs the Police Project from 1700 to 2200, Monday thru Friday. Usually there are two mental health professionals on-duty and they carry police radios to maintain contact with Control. They are designated "MH-1" thru "MH-17."
The MH units can deal with psychiatric emergencies and problems involving the elderly, young, disabled or others that in need of social services. They can respond within 5-10 minutes the scene of the problem and will assist the field officer in obtaining resources for solving the situation.
Citizens report vehicles which have been on the street for a long period of time. On the initial report, an officer is dispatched to mark the vehicle. On a follow-up, the officer returns four days later to see if the vehicle is still there. If so, the vehicle is cited and a tow requested.
Initial reports of abandoned autos are displayed as unassigned incidents like any other incident. Assign these calls only to the designated beat officer, and according to their priority.
You can immediately enter a disposition code of "MSC" and close out the incident. The officer will then check and mark the vehicle some time during the shift.
Officers follow-up on all vehicles they mark four days later. If they find the vehicle is still there, they will request a tow from the dispatcher on channel 2.