The Westminster Police Communications Center is the primary answering point for all 9-1-1 emergency calls in the City of Westminster. The Communications Center operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is staffed by a Communications Supervisor, Lead Dispatcher, 11 full-time and 2 part-time dispatchers. The Westminster Police Department processes up to 4,700 emergency 9-1-1 calls per month and 13,000 total calls monthly. Over 90% of 9-1-1 calls received by the Westminster Police Department are dialed from cellular phones.
The Communications Bureau is the direct link between citizens and officers in the field. The dispatchers screen and handle up to 8,800 calls for service each month and provide support for all field operations. Dispatchers must be able to field hundreds of incoming calls each day, determine the best course of action, and forward that information to the appropriate resource. Not only must dispatchers be able to handle these calls for assistance, but they must also monitor multiple radio frequencies simultaneously, dispatch calls to the police units, access a variety of local, state, and federal databases, assign case numbers, and track officer activity in the field.
Dispatchers often encounter irate, frustrated, or frightened citizens needing help. During emergency situations, dispatchers must operate with the utmost calm and efficiency in order to control the flow of information. Because each incoming call may vary from a request for general information to a report of a life threatening incident, the dispatcher must ask specific questions and control the conversation to accurately prioritize the call and assign it to a Police Officer. The quicker we gather pertinent details -- where is the incident occurring, what did you see, what do they look like, what type of car do they have etc., the more quickly responding officers will be provided that information. Rapidly obtaining pertinent information is a very crucial part of a dispatcher’s job.
The Communications Bureau operates with a myriad of technical equipment, including Alliance PD Central computer aided dispatch system, Positron Viper 9-1-1 system, mapping, and an 800 MHz trunked radio system. Each component assists the dispatchers in performing their jobs efficiently and effectively.
Dispatchers work with the SWAT team as tactical dispatchers and receive training in a wide variety of areas such as crisis negotiations, active shooters, interviewing and interrogating techniques, domestic violence, suicidal callers, critical incidents, sexual assault, and critical incident stress management.