During statewide, national, or even global incidents, public safety dispatchers provide a calm, professional voice and an essential link for the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and the public. To highlight their service, the CHP joins other law enforcement agencies to recognize National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, April 12 through 18, 2020.
“Telecommunications professionals continue to provide an indispensable service for public safety,” CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley said. “With recent events, now more than ever, our telecommunications personnel are the first point of contact to those in need or peril.”
The CHP employs more than 700 public safety dispatchers in its 24 Communications Centers throughout the state; they handled more than five million calls in 2019. In times of crisis, a dispatcher must instantly determine the correct response to ensure the safety of all parties involved. They are also in constant communication with patrol officers, looking up license plates, driver license numbers, and running criminal record checks on wanted subjects.
Calling 9-1-1 can be stressful. The following tips will help callers during an emergency:
• Stay as calm as possible.
• Call from a landline if possible.
• Be prepared to provide your name, phone number, address or location, and a detailed description of the incident or vehicle being reported.
• Cellular telephones may not tell the call-taker where you are. The location of the emergency may be the single most important information for the dispatcher in case the call is cut off.
• Wait for the dispatcher to ask questions, and then answer clearly and calmly.
• Listen carefully and follow all directions provided by the dispatcher.
• Be prepared to provide a physical description if the emergency involves a criminal suspect.
• Remember, 9-1-1 is for life-threatening emergencies. Misuse of the emergency 9-1-1 system will result in a delay for callers with real emergencies and is punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000.
The CHP is looking to hire qualified people to fill dispatch vacancies. The organization currently has more than 150 approved vacancies statewide for the position of public safety dispatcher.
The mission of the CHP is to provide the highest level of Safety, Service, and Security.