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San Mateo County 911 Dispatchers go for the Gold!

Submitted by Jaime D. Young

Redwood City, Ca – Law Enforcement 911 Dispatchers at the County Communications Center are preparing to “go for the gold”, standard that is, when answering police calls from the public. The “Emergency Police Protocol” developed in 2001 by the National Academy of Emergency Dispatch provides a standardized approach to asking questions 911 Dispatchers need to ask when taking calls from the public. “This protocol not only standardizes the way we’ll process information, but allows all CallTakers to ask questions the same way and in order of priority,” stated Elise Moeck, Law Operations Manager for the Communications Center. “This system puts Officer and Caller safety at a premium to ensure that information is relayed to field units as soon as it is received”.

After verifying the location and phone number of the caller, the automated system allows 911 personnel to ask scene safety questions in priority sequence and ask suspect and witness information in a protocol format. Most importantly, the system provides scripted instructions which may be life-saving to the caller while waiting for first-responders to arrive. “As a long time client of County Communications, they already provide us with quality professional service, this system will only enhance that quality” states Sheriff Greg Munks of the San Mateo County Sheriffs Office.

“We are very excited to enhance our standard of care to callers requesting law enforcement assistance” says Jaime Young, Communications Center Director. “Our staff is now certified in the protocol and has worked hard to raise the level of care for the public and provide a more consistent and reliable service to our law enforcement partners”. The County Communications Center dispatches for the Sheriff, East Palo Alto, Half Moon Bay, Millbrae, Transit and Broadmoor Police. “This is the Gold Standard in 911 dispatching and we are proud to be on the forefront, as the first agency in the State of California to implement this system.” Supervisor Adrienne Tissier of the County Board of Supervisor’s looks forward to the new protocols stating “this innovative system provides for efficient management of emergency calls , enhances the professionalism of our 911 Dispatchers and improves customer service. It is cutting edge.”

In addition to new call taking techniques, telephone calls will be recorded and will be randomly audited to ensure compliance with the protocol. If compliance is met, the County Dispatch Center will apply for the distinguished “Center of Excellence” designation deemed by the National Academy. “We hope to be accredited in law dispatching by late Spring 2011” says Elise Moeck, “We are already accredited in Emergency Medical Dispatch. Achieving accreditation for law enforcement dispatch is a realistic goal for us”. The Dispatch Center will implement the Emergency Fire Protocols in the fall of 2011. Once implemented, the County Dispatch Center hopes to be the third accredited “Center of Excellence” in the World and the second in the United States applying medical, fire and law enforcement protocols. Only Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada and Hartford County, Connecticut hold this honor.

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