The Challenge of Determining Location for Dispatchers
Category: Public Safety
Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. We’ve had several requests for some Today’s Tips directed at my telecommunicator friends out there. The “TCs.”
Nevertheless, when you TCs are able to get the address, don’t just stop there. Have you ever typed in an address in your GPS and then you get to where the GPS directs you and you STILL can’t find the place?
So here we go. Whether you are a TC for a law enforcement agency, a custody facility or a fire agency, probably the most important piece of information you can obtain from a caller is the location of the incident. I know how difficult this can be sometimes.
I’ve had TCs tell me the story of asking the caller “Where do you live?” the answer: “Here.” “Where’s here?” “In [city name]” “What is the address?” “Hope Street” “What numbers?” “Right here.” Well, you get the idea. It seems like it should be easy to get that basic information, but that’s not always the case. Nevertheless, when you TCs are able to get the address, don’t just stop there. Have you ever typed in an address in your GPS and then you get to where the GPS directs you and you STILL can’t find the place?
Well the same may be true of your firefighters, officers and deputies in the field. Try to paint a picture of the location for them. Ask the caller if there any landmarks nearby. Is it a gated community? Is there a unit number or apartment number? Is the location single story or is “suite 402” on the 4th floor? And what if the call is at a large business, say a Wal-Mart or Costco. Just having the store location isn’t good enough. Identify specifically where your personnel need to go. The loading dock? Aisle 4? Checkstand#2?
As they say in the Real Estate Business, “Location is Everything.” The same is true in public safety.
And that is Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Gordon Graham signing off.