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First response starts with the dispatch team at Pasadena Police Department


Read the full feature by Lou Ponsi on Behind the Badge here

A robbery in progress. Officer involved shooting. Baby not breathing. An abduction. Suicide attempt. Murder … Before first responders begin to roll, Pasadena Police Department (PPD) dispatchers are the first point of contact.

The dispatchers process the information within seconds, deciding: how many officers should be deployed. Is there an imminent threat to the community? Will paramedics or fire engines be needed?

So to say dispatchers are the first, first responders is 100 percent accurate.

“When I talk about dispatching to other people, I give a visual of an octopus, and their hands are moving at all different speeds … all eight legs and they are focused on one area,” said PPD administrator Karen Peterson a former dispatcher and dispatch supervisor. “They take the call from start to finish, get the information out to the officer and anyone else they need to get the information out to, and keep in mind the safety of the public, the field personnel and the needs of a community.”

It’s an awesome responsibility.

PPD employs 21 (out of 26) dispatchers, with at least four on duty at any given time, Peterson said.


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