Working with your dispatchers (to make them better)

Submitted by Mike Allen
California Highway Patrol, California

I'm a sergeant in a statewide agency and our dispatch center is about 45 miles away from our Area. There are 911 call takers and then there are the dispatchers. I lost track about 25 years ago of how often "messages" get construed from the caller to the call taker and then to the dispatcher. Though the article above is short, it is to the point. Every call you receive should be handled with the thoughts "expect the unexpected" and/or "prepare for the worst."


Dispatchers must be allowed to go on ride-alongs with us in the field — it is an eye opener for them. The men and women who are dispatchers are our brothers and sisters in law enforcement — they are part of our family and part of our team. They live vicariously through all of our calls too. If you find a "less than desirable" dispatcher, educate them constructively. Cell phones are a far cry from looking for a phone booth nowadays. Give them a call. Praise them if a good job was done. Educate them politely if not.

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