Police Dispatcher Radio Etiquette


Police dispatchers are a vital part of public safety and are directly impacted by radio etiquette. In dispatching calls and receiving information, specific guidelines are taught to lessen confusion and utilize time and energy effectively in communications. Safety is a primary goal, and it is maximized when command and control are established quickly.

Think Before Speaking

  • Before you key up the radio, know what you are going to say. A common technique used by newer dispatchers is to write a "script" prior to transmitting a call. This reduces "uh" and "um" in most instances and can be reviewed by a peer to ensure proper information is included.

Short and Simple

  • Keep all transmissions short and simple. Remember that while you are giving out information, receiving officers are doing other things while listening.

Useful Information

  • Officers need enough information over the radio to effectively prepare for the call; this can include locations, subject descriptions and details such as possible weapons or activities involved. In some instances, they will need to know with whom to speak or if there has been previous contact by another officer in the past. Any further information you feel might help can be disseminated through a private channel or via phone.

Pause Transmission

  • A general rule when giving out longer transmissions is to allow short breaks so officers who are in need of immediate assistance are able to speak. This will also allow feedback if there are radio problems or the dispatcher has not communicated the information effectively.

Calm, Clear and Concise

  • Remain calm; even in times of panic, others will follow your lead. Speak clearly, and do not shout into the microphone--mumbling will cause confusion and can result in vital information being lost. Shouting can also distort the transmission, which wastes valuable response time.

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