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Communications is one of the most important of the support services contained within police departments.  It is the division responsible for maintaining the vital link between the public and the Police Officers in the field.  Police Communication Specialist, also known as a Dispatcher, handle many types of calls and situations daily, from requests for information to emergency or critical incident. The Dispatcher provides a necessary, indispensable function for the public and the Police Officer alike.

    At the Ashland Police Department the Communications Division receives thousands of calls a year.  Many of these calls are simple requests for directions, phone numbers and referrals that are handled directly by the Dispatcher, or referred to other departments for assistance.  Hundreds of other calls result in "calls for service" which require either a Police Officers response or other action which needs to be documented.  The Dispatcher also receives the incoming emergency calls of an emergency nature which require the Dispatchers greatest skills, training and level-headed thinking to be utilized. 

    Like the Police Officers in Ashland, the Dispatchers work a four day on, two day off eight hour shift.  There is one Dispatcher on duty at any given time of day or night, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and three-hundred-sixty-five days a year.  

   In Ashland there are two full-time Dispatchers and one part-time Dispatcher, all of whom are CPR, First Responder and E911 certified.  


Written by Dispatcher Mark Byron 

"When do I use 911?"

Whenever in doubt, call 911.

Your call to 911 will be answered by a 911 Dispatcher who will ask the nature of your emergency.  The 911 Dispatcher will verify your name, and the location you are calling about.  To gain as many details as quickly as possible, the 911 Dispatcher will ask many questions, which are specifically utilized to obtain needed information so that the appropriate emergency response can be dispatched to your location quickly and safely.

The 911 Dispatcher will ask that you stay on the line. If you’re excited, they will try to calm you. Your experience may involve a loved one, or be happening before your eyes, which makes it doubly important for the 911 Dispatcher to be very deliberate and as detailed as possible. We don’t see what you are seeing. Under traumatic circumstances, you may assume we understand the situation.

The 911 Dispatcher is entering your answers into a computer that has already identified the address you are calling from through the "E-911" system. Often, at the same time, that information is being read by the same or another Dispatcher and emergency workers are being alerted and sent to your location before you’ve completed your discussion with the 911 Dispatcher.