|Dispatch and Records|
Welcome to the Oakdale Police Department Dispatch Center Web Site. I'm John Richards, Dispatch and Records Supervisor. Briefly, I'd like to tell you just what we do in the Dispatch Center.
Currently, we have five full time dispatchers and two full time records clerks employed. The five dispatchers work rotating 12 hour shifts for around the clock coverage for all police services and our two records clerks work Monday through Friday 8:00am to 5:30pm When citizens call for police services the dispatcher or records clerk is, in most cases, the citizens first contact with the police department. The dispatcher or records clerk's job is to get all necessary information from the caller so that the officer will be able to handle the situation when they arrive on scene. Another important reason to get all the information possible before dispatching an officer to a call for service is to keep that officer as safe as possible.
Dispatcher and records clerks are a very integral part of the police department team. It takes an special person to handle multiple emergencies at the same time, and still keep officers and firefighters safe. However, that's not all a dispatcher or records clerk does. Oftentimes the officer has to complete a police report and dispatchers and records clerk usually have to route these reports while they are doing their required dispatch and records duties - often a monumental task.
In addition to these tasks, the dispatcher and records clerk also handle all walk in traffic at the front counter of the police department from 8:00am to 5:30pm Monday thru Friday. This task also has to be done while performing the earlier mentioned dispatch duties, all the while monitoring each officer making sure they are safe.
As you can readily see, dispatching is not a job for the faint of heart. It's not just a job, it's a calling. Often, calls that dispatchers and records clerks receive, are not your everyday calls. At any time, day or night, the dispatcher and records clerk must be continually alert and vigilant. The next call they receive could be the one where a life may be at stake. Adrenalin rushes are quite common in the dispatch center. Stress is another hazard. Dispatchers and records clerks, more often that not, must deal with stress alone - not an easy task. They all do it though and still keep their sense of humor. They keep you and I safe and they do it in a professional manner.
That briefly, is the job of a dispatcher and records clerk. I certainly hope that it was enlightening for you and informative. If you have any questions about the dispatch center, or you would like a tour, don't hesitate to contact me. I welcome your comments and look forward to hearing from you.
What You Need To Know About 9-1-1
- 9-1-1 is a three digit telephone number that you can call 24 hours a day for police, fire or medical emergencies.
- 9-1-1 should only be used for life-threatening emergencies or in-progress crimes.
- If you call 9-1-1 with a situation that is not deemed to be an emergency, Oakdale dispatchers will refer you to the non-emergency number (209) 847-2231.
- When you call 9-1-1, your address, telephone number and the billing name of the residence is automatically displayed on our phone system; however, we will ask for this information each time you call 9-1-1 to verify the information for accuracy.
What Happens When You Call 9-1-1
The dispatcher will ask you what type of emergency you have – Police? Fire? Or Medical? You must remember to:
Stay on the line*Remain calm*Answer all questions
Oakdale Police Department (OPD) is a Primary Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) for the citizens located in the city limits of Oakdale. All calls from within the city limits are routed to OPD. When a 9-1-1 call is received, the dispatchers evaluate the caller’s needs and if the call involves a fire or medical emergency, the call is transferred to the appropriate agency.
What to expect when you call 9-1-1
The types of questions you should be prepared to answer are:
- Is this a police, fire or medical emergency?
- Where is the emergency?
- What is occurring?
- When did this occur?
- Do you have any suspect and/or suspect vehicle descriptions?
- Are there now, or were weapons involved? (gun, knife, stick, etc.)
You will be asked to give your name, address and telephone number (anonymous calls are accepted). If you wish the responding police officers to contact you at your home or your business, advise the 9-1-1 dispatcher. Please remain on the telephone to provide additional information as requested.
- DO NOT hang up until the dispatcher advises you to do so.
- ALLOW the dispatcher to direct the questions.
Examples of Emergency calls:
- In-progress crimes
- House/structure fire
- A person has been shot
- Bank/business robbery
- Burglary in-progress/just occurred
- Someone is having a heart attack
- Traffic accident with injuries involved
- Life threatening medical aid
Please do not call 9-1-1 for Non-Emergency calls such as:
- Loud party or music
- Parking violations
- Barking dog
- Road information
- My car was towed. How do I get it back?
- The traffic light is broken
- I scraped my knee
- Non-injury traffic accidents
- Time delayed reports with no suspect information
Note: Calls to 9-1-1 for non-emergencies require the dispatcher to divert his or her attention away from real emergencies and may create a delay in responding officers to the scene of a serious crime.
Calling 9-1-1 and Hanging Up
Whether you call 9-1-1 on purpose or by accident, the dispatcher will receive your information even if you terminate the call before the line is answered. The dispatcher will immediately call you back and inquire if an emergency exists. If the line is busy, the dispatcher will have an operator interrupt your call so that he/she may determine if it is an emergency at your residence or business. If the line is not answered when the dispatcher attempts to call, an officer will be dispatched to the address on our screen to “check the welfare” of the residence or business.
These procedures are followed as a safeguard in the event someone tries to make a discreet call and is interrupted or unable to speak for various reasons.
If you dial 9-1-1 in error, please remain on the line and advise the dispatcher you have made a mistake.
Calling 9-1-1 From Your Cellular Phone
Currently, when you call 9-1-1 from your cellular phone, the call is answered by the California Highway Patrol (CHP). If you are in the city limits of Oakdale and want to reach the Oakdale Police Department you should call the business line at (209) 847-2231. You might want to program that number into your cellular phone. If you are outside the Oakdale city limits dial 9-1-1 from your cellular phone and the CHP will handle your call or transfer you to the appropriate law enforcement agency to handle your call.
If you use a text telephone (TTY/TDD0, make sure you know the correct way to dial on your machine. After dialing 9-1-1, its very helpful to the dispatcher if the caller taps the space bar several times on their keyboard, then wait, (tapping the space bar is not a requirement), repeat this procedure continuously until the dispatcher activates his/her TTY/TDD device. When the dispatcher’s TTY/TDD is activated, it will automatically type “Oakdale 9-1-1, What is your emergency GA”. Please reply with your address and your emergency. Stay on the line with the dispatcher until he/she advises you to terminate the call (sksk).
If you do not have access to a text telephone or a hearing person is not available, dial 9-1-1 and leave the phone off the hook. If you can talk, repeatedly state the problem or make frantic sounds that can be heard by the dispatcher. The telephone system’s viewing screen will display your location and the dispatcher will send help.
Tapping the space bar is not a requirement. All calls in the Dispatch Center that are “open line” or when a person is “not speaking” will be tested as a possible TTY/TDD caller.