It is recognized that dispatching is one of the most critical functions within the police department. Communications Officers play a vital role in the law enforcement and public safety system. They are responsible for facilitating an appropriate and timely field unit response, monitoring field activity, and providing information that is often times critical to the safety of both citizens and field officers.
Point of Public Contact
Communications Officers are usually the first and sometimes the only point of public contact in receiving calls regarding:
- Medical emergencies
- Safety hazards
- Traffic incidents
- Miscellaneous requests for service
The Communications Officer acts as a 911 System Operator, dispatching required personnel via a Computer Aided Dispatch system (CAD) as necessary, pursuant to established procedures. Communications Officers
- Answer non-emergency calls for assistance
- Contact county and emergency management network agencies to provide information and coordinate responses
- Disseminate information to the public and respond to inquiries
- Monitor other police radios
- Operate a variety of computer equipment
The Tustin Police Department has one of the most advanced and comprehensive training programs available. The City of Tustin sends new Communications Officers to a 3-week POST dispatch academy. This gives them insight on what their new career has in store for them. The training program for new dispatchers is a structured 5-phase program. These phases coincide with the positions held in the Communications Center.
The trainee is assigned to a different trainer every four weeks until the end of training. This enables the new Communications Officer the opportunity to experience different shifts, call volumes, and levels of activity.
The training program is designed to benefit the trainee with a structured and consistent program. The training program lasts approximately six months. Probationary dispatchers receive a review by the Communications Supervisor at the end of the training period.
After successfully completing the training program, the new Communications Officer will be assigned a shift. The schedule is comprised of day and graveyard shifts. Day shifts run from 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and night shifts run from 6 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. A biweekly pay period is made up of three, 12 half-hour shifts and one 5-hour shift. Due to the nature of our business, flexibility is paramount.
Weekends & Holidays
Communications Officers may be required to work weekends and holidays. The Communications Officer's role in performing the communications function is the vital link between the public and the police.