Issue 11 and Volume 143.

SHARED DISPATCHING COMMUNICATIONS Recently I spoke with a police officer in a small New England town who had a beef with his dispatcher. The officer had gotten a radio call of a “suicidal man holed up in his garage.” He asked the dispatcher if there were any weapons involved. Since the dispatcher didn’t know, he tried to call the original party back but received only a busy signal -it seemed the distressed man’s wife was calling friends and relatives for help as well. As a result, the police officer went into the situation with far less information than he would have liked. His assessment of this particular communications problem? “The county has a damned fire dispatcher handling police calls who doesn’t have a clue as to what kinds of questions to ask!” Had I sought out another jurisdiction where “damned police dispatchers” handle fire calls, I suppose I could have…

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