The Westminster Police Department Emergency Communications Center is the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) for all 9-1-1 emergency calls in the City of Westminster. The Emergency Communications Center operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is staffed by a Communications Supervisor and 12 full-time Dispatchers.
The Westminster Police Department Emergency Communications Center processes up to 15,000 phone calls per month. Approximately 85% of all 9-1-1 calls received by the Westminster Police Department Emergency Communications Center are dialed from cellular phones.
The Communications Division is the direct link between citizens and public safety personnel. The dispatchers screen and handle over 7,000 calls per service each month. They are a critical component of field operations. Dispatchers must be able to field hundreds of incoming calls each day, determine the best course of action to take, document pertinent details, and forward that information to the appropriate resource. Not only must dispatchers be able to handle any emergency call for service, they must also actively monitor multiple radio frequencies simultaneously, dispatch calls to police and other public safety personnel, utilize electronic mapping systems to determine locations, access a variety of local, state, and federal databases, assign case numbers, and track officer activity in the field. Dispatchers must actively utilize their dispatcher “ear”, multitask, exercise critical thinking skills and rapidly make sound decisions during critical incidents.
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 life threatening incident, the dispatcher must ask very specific questions and control the conversation to accurately prioritize the call and assign it to the appropriate public safety personnel. The quicker dispatchers gather pertinent details, the more quickly responding officers will be provided that information. Rapidly obtaining pertinent information is a very crucial part of a dispatcher’s job. With each new phone call, dispatchers reprioritize the 31 phone lines that ring into dispatch.
The Communications Division operates a myriad of technical equipment, including Alliance PD Central Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system, Position Viper 9-1-1 system, MapFlex 9-1-1 mapping, Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL), 800MHz trunked radio system, traffic security, and building security systems. Each component assists the dispatchers in performing their jobs efficiently and effectively.
Dispatchers work with the West County SWAT team as tactical dispatchers and receive training in a wide variety of areas such as mass casualty incidents, crisis negotiations, active shooters, interviewing and interrogating techniques, terrorism, mental illness, domestic violence, suicidal callers, critical incidents, sexual assault, trauma exposure, critical incident stress management, dispatcher wellness, communications training officer, and leadership.
See the attached flyer for more information regarding how to report an emergency to 9-1-1.
Consider a career as a Police Dispatcher, and find out more about working for the WPD here.