The Communications Section is central to the police function. All police calls for the City of Pinellas Park are handled here. Every call for police service is received, recorded, dispatched and concluded in this area. The Communications Center is the "Heartbeat of the Department" or the "Nucleus." The job of a Public Safety Dispatcher is among the most stressful positions within the department. Each year the Pinellas Park Police dispatchers handle over 100,00 phone calls including over 12,000 9-1-1 calls.
Handling Incoming Calls
Over one-half of all the incoming calls for service are for informational purposes. The dispatcher must have the patience and self-control to handle all emergency situations. Keeping the public's safety in mind, dispatchers must maintain professionalism and efficiency while processing calls for service. As stressful as it can be, the satisfaction of helping people and even occasionally saving a life provides an enormous amount of self accomplishment.
The dispatcher's role is to ascertain as much information as possible for the officer in the field. In emergency in-progress situations, the dispatcher will keep the caller on the telephone while simultaneously relaying updated information to the officer while he /she is en route to the scene.
It is the dispatcher's responsibility to obtain vital information for the officers such as
- Weapons Involved
- Number of People Involved
- or if Anyone is Possibly Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs
All of this information is important to the officer prior to arriving at the scene.
Operations & Staffing
The Communications Center operates 7 days a week 24hrs a day. Dispatchers bid for shifts every 4 months. Shifts work is based on a 12-hour rotating schedule. Dispatchers must be able to work nights, weekends, and holidays.
The Pinellas Park Police Department's Communications Center has 13 full-time dispatchers and one Communications Supervisor. Six of the dispatchers are Communications Training Officers commonly referred to as CTOs. The Department provides an intensive 22-week training program where the Communications Trainee is paired with an experienced trainer (CTO). The CTO observes and evaluates the trainee daily in areas such as; appearance, attitude, job knowledge, performance, and interdepartmental relationships.
Dispatchers work under the direct supervision of Communications Sergeant Steven Hassett.