The Hopewell Township Police Department Communications Center is staffed by six full time civilian dispatchers. These men and women work rotating shifts, including weekends and holidays, providing 24 hour coverage.
Professional dispatchers must have excellent verbal skills, patience, be computer proficient and most importantly be able to multi-task. It is critical that they be able to remain calm under pressure.
All phone calls placed to the police department come through dispatch. Non-emergency and routine calls should be placed to (609) 737-3100. Emergency phone calls should always be placed to 9-1-1 so that they are received on the Enhanced 9-1-1 System which will provide the dispatcher important information and added capabilities.
When 9-1-1 calls are received, the caller’s name, address and phone number are displayed on a computer screen for the dispatcher. Cellular 9-1-1 calls may not display the location from where the call is being made.
Once a call is received by a dispatcher, the information is entered into the CAD (Computer Assisted Dispatch) work station and the information is broadcast to patrol officers and other agencies as needed.
Calls that come in on 9-1-1 requiring a fire or ambulance response are then transferred to the fire or emergency medical service communications centers for dispatching.
Communication with various police units and outside agencies is made using multiple radio channels and mobile data computers in the patrol vehicles. Complicated emergency calls or major incidents involve multiple officers and various agencies; it is the dispatchers who coordinate communication with all involved.
Record keeping is an important facet of the communications center. Calls must be documented and updated as additional information is received.
Dispatchers must also research and retrieve critical information from several different computer databases to assist officers on calls and investigations.
Each dispatcher also has other duties to perform to assist the department in its mission. These include: alarm and business registrations, maintaining current 9-1-1 information, logging summonses, entering court orders into databases, and updating geographic information into the CAD system.
Simply put the dispatchers are the lifeline between the police officers and the public.