Pay close attention to dispatchers' words

Civilian dispatchers do it all the time — they give out calls the way they receive them, using the words the caller had used. And we as the police get these calls all the time.

“94-3 respond to the area of 123 Main Street. Caller reports someone shot a hole in her window — repeat, someone shot a hole in her window!”

Back-up may not even be dispatched at this point in the call.

We as officers respond, and we may think, “Just another kid with a pellet or BB gun... criminal mischief or vandalism. But the way we should hear and process this is, “Shots fired! Shots fired!” We need to recognize the dangers of these calls and plan our approach to the area. We must remember that anyone with a gun who can see us can kill us! If they are suicidal then they are homicidal. We are walking into their environment and they have the advantage.

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