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View Poll Results: Silent Dispatch - what do you think?

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  • A danger to officers everywhere - HATE IT!

    0 0%
  • Use only in situations where radio may be a danger

    0 0%
  • Useful for low priority calls to keep radio traffic down.

    1 100.00%
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  1. #1
    ladymoonlite is offline Officer
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    Feb 2002
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    Chicago suburbs, Illinois
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    icon15.gif Silent Dispatching for Low Priority Calls

    Is any department out there using silent dispatch techniques via MDC or MDT on low priority calls? My department is considering this for such things as lockouts (yes, we still do vehicle lockouts), parking problems, private property accidents, etc., but I'd like to have some input from someone who's tried it. Like it? Hate it? Why?

    Thanks in advance for your responses!
    ladymoonlite

    Dispatchers save seconds - Seconds save lives!

  2. #2
    TANKMGA8's Avatar
    TANKMGA8 is offline Moderator
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    Personally I hate the idea, we have a few dispatchers that routinely used to call you on a cell phone to tell you to go do this or that. I don't like it as they were not doing it on low priority calls. We are a small department with approx. 2-4 officers on the street at any one time. Out radio traffic isn't that intense that we would need to do this.

    The reason that I don't like it is an officer safety issue. If officer A is told on the phone about something, and he gets on scene and then something bad happens and he calls for assistance, officers B, C, and D don't know where he is at. Dispatch then has to try and get on the radio and tell the other officers where A is at and that is if officer A isn't still yelling to get help to him/her. For officer safety I believe that all calls should be dispatched over the radio, or at least the location where the officer is going to be, due to scanners in the area if it is something that needs to be done off the radio we go to a secure channel and get dispatched that way.

    Just my .02 cents.
    Take care,

    Harold

  3. #3
    ladymoonlite is offline Officer
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    Feb 2002
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    Chicago suburbs, Illinois
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    I should probably clarify this. In our agency, this would NOT be by cell phone, only MDC. Officers can elect to get all calls, or all calls in adjacent beats (in addition to their own calls), sent to their MDC as well; this would allow them to see any call those officers were sent to.

    My agency has upwards of twelve officers (midnights) to thirty or more (including traffic and CSOs) on the street at any given time. This can cause radio congestion and we're seeking ways to clear the airwaves.

    I really need input from someone who's tried it and given it up due to problems, and those who're still using it.

    Thanks!
    ladymoonlite

    Dispatchers save seconds - Seconds save lives!

  4. #4
    TANKMGA8's Avatar
    TANKMGA8 is offline Moderator
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    ladymoonlite,

    I am sorry that I misunderstood your question, you were clear, I just overlooked the reference you had in your originial post about the MDC. I apoligize for my mix-up.
    Take care,

    Harold

  5. #5
    Shadowknows Guest
    They are trying the MDT's in Hamilton County Ohio and in Cincinnati Ohio. We have alot of radio traffic up here. Since they are just testing it, calls are given over the radio still and additional information is given over the MDT. Checks can also be done on persons or vehicles in the cars. Many departments use scanners to monitor other channels, ie: fire, state, tactical, etc. This system will stop a lot of that. I'm sure they can provide more information. I can get you a phone number if you like. H.C. is state of art in the country.

  6. #6
    lestat is offline Sergeant
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    icon20.gif

    i worked for an agency that used to send low priority, mostly paper jobs (past burgs, crim damage, barking dogs, and other assorted BS), to the cop via mdt. i thought it was great. all hot jobs went over the air. as to the safety issue, that agency allowed any car to call up a roster from the terminal to see where the cars in your division where at and what they were doing. the system also allowed car-to-car and car-to-dispatch messaging which helped eliminate embarassing radio traffic, ie "i locked the keys in the car...again" LOLOLOLOL.
    seriously though, the less chatter on the air the better. Even if your system doesn't allow the roll call function, if you need help, location,location,loaction is the first and only thing you need to get out. ask any city cop working a busy precint and it is IMPOSSIBLE to know not only where your own people are at, but where all the "phantom" units are at too. if you scream where you are and that's all you get over, help is coming. stay safe.

  7. #7
    Matthew C. Guest

    Silent Dispatch

    My department uses silent dispatch through MDT. However, our policy is that when you recieve the call you respond to dispatch for example: Silent dispatch to a cold criminal mischief....I respond over the radio "210 enroute to a cold criminal mischief at" whatever the address may be. That is the only radio traffic generated for the call. When I get on scene I go out via the mdt and I code 12 from the MDT as well. This system seems to reduce radio traffic while still letting my potential cover officers know where I am at if things get ugly. We also have a status screen on our MDT's that show everyones location.

    Matthew C.

  8. #8
    ladymoonlite is offline Officer
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    Feb 2002
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    Chicago suburbs, Illinois
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    Thanks for your reply, Matthew. Can you tell me what happens if you aren't in your car when the call comes in to your MDT?
    ladymoonlite

    Dispatchers save seconds - Seconds save lives!

  9. #9
    Matthew C. Guest

    Silent Dispatch

    Ladymoonlite,
    About the only calls that we get via silent dispatch are cold calls. I guess the philosophy used is that if it is a cold call it won't get any colder. However, if it has been a while since it was dispatched and you have not responded our dispatchers are pretty good about asking if our terminal is up. That's their code to let us know that we have recieved a silent dipatch and may not have realized it.

    I think my major complaint with the system would be that our MDT's only have one sound to them. So, if you are working on a report in your car and get a silent dispatch you might not realize it because the system uses the same sound for officer updates, silent dispatch and just about anything else it does.

    Matthew C.

  10. #10
    ladymoonlite is offline Officer
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    Feb 2002
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    Chicago suburbs, Illinois
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    Thumbs up Thanks

    I just wanted to thank everyone for their input into this one. We're forwarding our proposal (which seems to contain something from each of the replies I received here) to patrol for their review and input. I'm hoping we can come to an agreement that will work for everyone.

    I'm so glad to have this kind of forum for this kind of help!

    PS: Apologies for the poll - that really didn't seem to work like I expected it to... I suppose that was operator error!
    ladymoonlite

    Dispatchers save seconds - Seconds save lives!

  11. #11
    K9 Police is offline Bite and Hold Moderator
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    Thumbs up CAD

    I don't know if you are speaking of CAD and dispatching through the MDC. I personally LOVE silent dispatching cold calls through the MDC. The computer in the car is an excellent tool and resource that keeps all the calls organized, hot or cold. I especially like the fact that I can see on the screen where everybody is and what call they are at in case something does go wrong. I am totally for silent dispatching, CAD, and MDC's. The less radio traffic for cold calls, the more available air time for a hot call or when something goes wrong or bad.

    Just my .02

    K9

  12. #12
    tcsd1236 Guest
    When our MDT's were working, EVERY call went out via MDT. It was only the important calls that the dispatchers would get on the air and tell us to check the laptops. The MDT's went down six months ago when they tried to load Windows 98 onto hardware built in 1993 and it's never been up and running relably since then. Now, it's back to the era of dinosaurs, and everything gets sent out over the air....dispatches, traffic stops....everything.

  13. #13
    ladymoonlite is offline Officer
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    Chicago suburbs, Illinois
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    Thanks to everyone who replied to this post - I appreciate your input!

    UPDATE: Although I was unable to locate any negative occurrences in terms of officer safety, and the fact that we put together a pretty solid presentation on the subject, Silent Dispatching has died a slow death at our department. May it rest in peace - and hope for reincarnation!

    Thanks again
    ladymoonlite

    Dispatchers save seconds - Seconds save lives!

  14. #14
    jaybird is offline Officer
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    Jun 2000
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    Birmingham, AL
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    Our PD uses Mobile Data Terminals. I like them alot. Its nice to be able to see all the calls for our PD on the screen and the addresses. You can also check "Unit Status" and see if a unit is Busy.

    Personally, I don't like the idea of silent dispatching. 1. Unless everyone has MDT's in their cars, its not a good idea for the officer safety part of policing, just like already said by Tank.
    2. We're a busy PD and our call volume is pretty high. Our dispatchers dispatch everything by air and we still don't have any trouble with "brevity" or clogged up air space. SO honestly, I don't see why silent dispatching is needed.

    And if you're a small PD of 12, why do it?

    Just My H.O.

    Stay safe

  15. #15
    Fred Guest
    I live in a good size city 360 officers on the department. Some nights the radio is jammed so when a important call comes over car chase, shooting etc . the officers are a asked to switch to "C" in order to keep the main clear for important radio traffic.

    Even low priority calls are put out over the air with this department. The officers are also sent the info via their MDT but everyone on the air can also hear where those paticular cars are being sent. I think that is the best way many officers hear that another car has been sent on a low priority call and they have something to add or some info for that officer. I think it helps that everyone is on the same page


 
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