A police dispatcher is an important and vital part of the emergency response system.
When a call comes in, a dispatcher must take the information and make decisions while at the same time, being on the line with a potentially panicked and frightened citizen.
The police dispatcher must listen to the caller and determine the priority level. They must determine if the call is an emergency and if officers need to get there code 3.
If not, then the calls must be prioritized from higher to lower, and officers will be dispatched to the more serious first, then the less serious.
Now...how does the whole process work? Most people probably think that if you call 911, you talk to one person and that person sends the info to the cruisers, and then they show up. Actually, it's more than just that.
The larger police departments have several people working at the communication desks. It typically works like this:
Someone calls 911 and the call comes through to the communication center. The desk/board operator takes the call and gets the info from the person calling. The decision is made as to the priority level, and then the call / info is patched over to the radio desk where it is actually dispatched from there to the cruisers.
So, in actual fact, there is more than just one person involved in the dispatch process.
Smaller departments may have just one person manning the desk from the call coming in to the call being sent out to the officers, but for the larger ones, there is usually more than just one.
Being a dispatcher, whether at the board operator, or the radio desk operator, can be extremely hectic. When a major emergency comes up, the dispatchers are sometimes required to multitask like crazy. They have to monitor communication on the radio between officers, input updating info, answer requests made by officers, make land line phone calls, and deal with new calls that keep coming in.
Obviously, not every call will be an emergency. Some calls that people call in aren't even criminal in nature, and are a complete waste of time. Unfortunately, the dispatchers have to listen to the people that call in, and sometimes it's so ridiculous you can't help but laugh you ass off.
Check out the following video:
"you're supposed to be here to protect me!"
"well, what are we protecting you from, a wrong cheeseburger? Is this like a harmful cheeseburger or something?"