The Vernon Police Department's Dispatch Division is the nerve center of VPD. Dispatchers are the first contact most people will have when calling for assistance. Therefore, our dispatchers receive constant classroom and on-the-job training to meet the current demands of the job.
In the 1960's, police communications were still very limited. Radio communication was limited to the local frequency, and only the patrol cars were linked to Dispatch by radio.
In the days before 911, three emergency phones for public use were located in Rockville Center, Tri-City Plaza and the Vernon Circle Shopping Center. Officers often used these as Call Boxes as well as public payphones for sensitive communications with the Police Department. The call boxes remained in service until the end of the 1990's.
Contact with other agencies was made by telephone and teletype machine. By the early 1970's, communications began to improve dramatically. Portable radios enabled officers to maintain contact with the dispatcher when away from their cruiser .
Twenty-Five years ago, reaching the Police Department by phone in an emergency was not always quick and easy. Callers had to dial the Emergency Number, which was just another seven-digit telephone number published in the phone book. Another option was to dial O and ask the operator to place the call, which was time consuming. Callers might not be familiar with their location or the correct address from which they were calling. Somewhat belatedly, a Statewide 911 system was introduced in 1989. The new system gave dispatchers information concerning the address of the telephone's subscriber in cases of hard-wired phones. Later enhancements provided the location of cell phone calls on a map. The system continues to undergo upgrades consistent with evolving technology.
The dispatcher position, itself, is a skilled emergency service position that involves receiving emergency 911 and non-emergency requests for police assistance.
The job requires a considerable degree of initiative and independent judgment within procedural boundaries in responding to emotional, disturbed and sometimes abusive people in a variety of situations. Work may be done separately or in conjunction with other dispatchers.
Dispatchers determine the nature/urgency of calls, initiate police or other emergency personnel action and maintain close contact with patrol units to monitor response and needed support requirements