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  • Centralized Dispatching

    I am looking for some input on how other agencies handle their centralized dispatching services. I work for a Sheriff's Office in Upstate New York that works under the "closest car" concept. To give a little background, the Sheriff's Office Dispatch always handled county dispatch services (included Sheriff's Deputies, two village PD's, county-wide fire and emergency dispatching). Within the past couple of years, Dispatch became E-911, but was still managed under the Sheriff's Office. At that time, they acquired dispatching of the New York State Police also and everyone was on the same frequency handling complaints under "closest car." The relationship with all of the cops (Village, County, and State) was fine and it worked pretty well. Within the past year, Dispatch broke away from the Sheriff's Office and is now run out of the County Office Building as the County 911 Center (no affiliation with the Sheriff's Office). Since then, it has been hell on earth! The cops still work pretty well together, but Dispatch has gone down the tubes. Constant blunders, bickering, and terrible customer service...it's to the point where cops from all agencies have expressed serious problems of officer safety. The problem is there is now no accountability on the Dispatchers as they are managed by a sole supervisor (who is not pro-police in any way) and an Advisory Board made up of various titles from all agencies (police, fire, ems). Any time we go to our liaison on the board, he is immediately shot down at the meetings even if he has a legitimate complaint (which he always does) Sorry if this is lengthy, but I am looking for some input or comments as to what we should do and/or how your Dispatching services work. I am actually a former Dispatcher so I am definitely not against them, but things have definitely changed and I hope it does not come to someone getting hurt.

  • #2
    I can't say it any other way but.................Your Screwed!!!!
    Maybe bring them some pizza's. Its too bad...sounds like a lot of politics are going on and everyone wants to be a chief without actually being responsible.

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    • #3
      As a former dispatcher I can sympathize with your problem. I worked at a central dispatch center in Cook County, IL and we dispatched Police/Fire/EMS for 17 agencies and we had the same problems. About all you can do is to keep bringing the complaints in and hope they deal with them. It is most likely a case of too many chiefs wanting to control everything but not deal with the issues as was with my former place of employment.

      If you get no satisfaction that way, there is always the local TV stations or newspapers...Public pressure can do wonders at times.

      Good luck with this.
      "It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who have died. Rather, we should thank God such men lived." ~ General George Patton

      "It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is thus shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope." ~ Robert Kennedy

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      • #4
        The county I work in will be going to that very setup in a few months. I think and have always thought it would be a mess. Our dispatch sucks now and I think it will only be worse. The program has been ramrodded by the fire depts. We will be going to 800 mgz. from low band and will not even have radios in our cars. We have take home cars so you have to take your handheld when ever your in your car while off duty. Dispatch will dispatch the closest car according to your location via GPS. They claim they can't afford in car radios but paid 7000.00 per in car computer. ( All fire vehicles will have mobiles) I hate to think about having to trust a battery on a handheld. Does anyone else have this type of setup? If so how does it work?
        "Laws that forbid the carrying of arms. . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." - Thomas Jefferson

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        • #5
          We have consolidated dispatch. The SO (who I work for), three of the four city PDs, Harbor Police, fire and ambulance are dispatched through them. Overall, things are better than when everyone had their own dispatch. The dispatchers generally do the best they can, and a couple are true all-stars.

          We dispatch by beat. The beat car is generally dispatched as primary, with the adjoining beat for cover. If the beat car is on a detail and can't break, then an adjoining beat will be primary. The closest unit will generally respond for cover, but it's up to the deputies to make that decision.

          The dispatch center is a joint powers authority - essentially a government district that contracts with the various agencies. There is a board comprised of all the agency chiefs who sets the general direction, and user groups (law, fire, EMS) who deal with their specific concerns. It's hard to get anything done when a dispatcher screws the pooch, because everything seems to wind up "being addressed as a training issue" and there is no discipline, or termination (which should have happened to a couple dispatchers).
          Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

          I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq

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          • #6
            I am starting to believe that these types of problems happen everywhere. Not just Dispatch, but money for equipment, salaries, etc. The governmental bodies that oversees our municipalities expects perfect public safety on "shoestring" budgets.

            I really don't like the idea of not having a mobile radio! That scares me a bit - I really hope you have a fantastic radio system capable of working off of the portables at all times.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by tjt121
              I am starting to believe that these types of problems happen everywhere. Not just Dispatch, but money for equipment, salaries, etc. The governmental bodies that oversees our municipalities expects perfect public safety on "shoestring" budgets.

              I really don't like the idea of not having a mobile radio! That scares me a bit - I really hope you have a fantastic radio system capable of working off of the portables at all times.
              Scares the hell out of me to. I understand motorola batterys are godd, but past practice tells me that batterys always work good-Untill you really need them. The minds to be say, don't worry cause you'll have your computer, I don't know about you but I don't type 10-78 real fast nor would I even try. Its all Bulls---
              "Laws that forbid the carrying of arms. . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." - Thomas Jefferson

              Comment


              • #8
                I have a Motorola portable and it works great, BUT reception is not the greatest on a portable especially if you work in a big area like a County. We have a decent repeater system and we still have problems in certain areas. We never do on the mobile radio.

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                • #9
                  The only agency in my area that has something close to that is Columbus P.D. I believe. I'm not exactly sure how they work.

                  I know the county s.o. breaks their patrol into east and west. When a call is dispatched they usually go for the two or three closest units, and then start backup accordingly.

                  I'm fortunate enough to work for a small pd with it's own dispatch.
                  -Stay safe

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                  • #10
                    My agency is dispatched by a county-wide E911 center. At one time we assigned cars to specific beat areas and calls were assigned based on where they originated. Dispatch didn't like it because they didn't like holding a call until the beat car was free. Some officers didn't like it because the felt they were getting more calls than other people. The response (I can't call it a solution) was to abolish beat areas and assign calls in rotation. Our city isn't that large so it doesn't take an unreasonable amount of time to drive from one end of town to another. Some times it seems that's what we do all day. If we're some distance from an urgent call, we're supposed to announce it in hopes someone closer will jump in. The call rotation is handled by the dispatch computer. The system doesn't always work as intended. Some poor sucker can find himself getting all the calls until he remembers to forget to call back in service.

                    A bad dispatch center is more than officer safety problem, it's a public safety problem. If not corrected it will end up on the front page of the paper. Keep documenting problems, keep bringing them them to the attention of the operating board.

                    Comment

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