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.