Communications is one of the most important divisions of the support
services within the police department. This division is responsible for
maintaining the vital link between the public and the police officers in
the field. Communication officers (also known as dispatchers) receive,
screen, and prioritize calls for service. Once done, they dispatch units
for an appropriate response.
Types of Calls Received
Communication officers receive thousands of calls per year. Many of
these calls are simple requests for directions, phone numbers, or
referrals that are handled directly by the dispatcher or referred to
other departments for assistance. However, the majority of calls require
an officer's response or other action which needs to be documented.
These calls for service vary greatly and range from requests for routine
reports to emergency or critical incidents which require the
communication officers' greatest skills, training, and level-headed
thinking to be utilized.
Also included within their duties are radio and telephone
communications, computer and teletype communications, enhanced 9-1-1
system equipment, and walk-in complaints. The communication officers
provide a necessary and indispensable function for the public and the
police officer alike.