SACRAMENTO, Calif. April 15, 2019 – A calm, professional, and unseen voice in times of crisis, public safety dispatchers are an essential link for the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and the public. To highlight their service, the CHP joins other law enforcement agencies to recognize National Public Safety Telecommunicators’ Week, April 14-20, 2019.
“The selfless efforts of telecommunications professionals are crucial for public safety,” CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley said. “With any new crisis, dispatchers who provide services to the public and every CHP unit are to be commended for their dedication and hard work.”
More than 900 public safety dispatchers work for the CHP, in 24 Communications Centers statewide, where they handled more than seven million calls in 2018. A large majority of the wireless 9-1-1 calls in California are handled by CHP dispatchers. Calls are never routine. Dispatchers must instantly determine the correct response to ensure safety in an emergency. They are also in constant communication with patrol officers, looking up license plates, driver license numbers, and running criminal record checks on wanted subjects.
Although text to 9-1-1 is now available in many parts of California, voice calls are better whenever possible. More areas will add text to 9-1-1 in the coming years.
Calling 9-1-1 can be stressful. The following tips will help callers during an emergency:
• Stay as calm as possible.
• Call from a landline if possible.
• Be prepared to provide your name, phone number, address or location, and a detailed description of the incident or vehicle being reported.
• Cellular telephones may not tell the call-taker where you are. The location of the emergency may be the single most important information for the dispatcher in case the call is cut off.
• Wait for the dispatcher to ask questions, and then answer clearly and calmly.
• Listen carefully and follow all directions provided by the dispatcher.
• Be prepared to provide a physical description if the emergency involves a criminal suspect.
• Remember, 9-1-1 is for life-threatening emergencies. Misuse of the emergency 9-1-1 system will result in a delay for callers with real emergencies and is punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000.
The mission of the CHP is to provide the highest level of Safety, Service, and Security.