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by Peter Moskos

April 10, 2015

"Suspect is down," says the dispatcher

Here's video of the initial Walter Scott car stop. (Yes, his brake light was out.)

But what I love, which I suppose is kind minor in the grand scheme of thing, is how fucking amazing this drawling dispatcher is. She is bad-ass and calm.

"Shots fired. He grabbed your taser. Suspect is down," she drawls, almost yawning, like it happens ever day. But it doesn't. And that's how you want dispatchers to act. The last thing you want, and sometimes it happens, is a dispatcher losing control. She (sometimes he) holds the entire police department in her voice.

Somebody still needs to write the great book or make the great movie about dispatchers. They really are unsung underpaid heroes. So many lives depend on them.


Anonymous said...

Thank you. A long time ago, I was a campus police dispatcher. We were sent to dispatch training, where we got to listen to a lot of calls, those handled well and those handled badly. Two things were obvious - dispatchers need to be dead calm, and that most dispatchers are not given the authority and respect necessary to effectively co-ordinate response.

It is an incredibly stressful and difficult job.

David Squier Jones said...

Calm dispatchers who effectively communicate are a cop's best friend. On a more serious note, this San Jose Police dispatcher did an amazing job on the day a cop died a couple weeks ago - it gives you chills, but kudos to that dispatcher:

Peter Moskos said...

That literally did me the chills.