The South Bend Police Department's Communications Center provides emergency and non-emergency police & fire services to the public and supports other City Departments in carrying out their public safety responsibilities by providing radio and computer aided communications.
The Communications Center is operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week. South Bend Police & Fire Communications Specialists answer both emergency 9-1-1 calls, as well as Administrative or non-emergency calls. Statistics are kept on calls received as well as outgoing calls made in the Communications Section.
In order to handle the volume of calls received, the Communications Section has invested heavily in computer technology and extensive training of personnel. The center uses a computer-aided dispatch (C.A.D.) system. This system relieves the dispatcher and emergency call takers of many tedious and time-consuming tasks, allowing them to concentrate more on citizens calling for service and ensuring the rapid dispatch of emergency calls. This system is linked directly to the 9-1-1 system, and to the Indiana state records and BMV licensing database computer system that allows rapid and accurate license and wanted checks and provides links to the FBI computers and other states' police and motor vehicle databases.
The training time for a Communications Specialist is six months. Training encompasses classroom training, simulation, certifications, and on-the-job training with a trainer. Training teaches Communications Specialists how to handle police & fire related calls for service, map reading, radio codes, computer aided dispatch functions, radio procedures and more.
Communications Specialists are required to make quick decisions and coordinate multiple tasks at one time. Being an Communications Specialist requires someone with good typing skills, good listening skills, someone who is multitask oriented, someone who has common sense, and someone who can remain calm and in control during crisis situations.
radio communications the City of South Bend uses a 453 MHz radio system.
Frequently Asked Questions about 9-1-1
If I dial 9-1-1 from my home in South Bend, am I talking to the South Bend Police Department?
the South Bend Police Department Communications Section answers your call. We
will determine if you need police, fire or medical assistance. If you need
police assistance, we will handle your call. If you need fire or medical
assistance we can assist you with dispatch for the Fire Department also.
It is important to let us know at the beginning of the conversation what type of assistance that you need.
If I misdial 9-1-1, what should I do?
Stay on the phone! Even if you hang up prior to us answering the phone, the call will go through and register as a 9-1-1 call. As long as you stay on the phone and tell us that you have misdialed the only thing that will happen is that the call taker or dispatcher will verify your phone information, such as the number, your name, and your address. If you hang up, the call taker or dispatcher will call you back and send an officer to your location.=When I call 9-1-1, why am I sometimes told to call back on a non-emergency line?
9-1-1 is for emergency calls only. An emergency call is one where there is a potential threat to life. Sometimes people will call 9-1-1 to ask a question or to report a non-emergency situation. We do not want to tie up emergency 911 lines with non-emergency calls, so we ask that you call our non-emergency phone number at 574.235.9361.
Why does it take so long for an Officer to arrive?
Calls for service received by the Communications Section are prioritized based on several factors. Emergency Call Takers and Dispatchers will use answers to the questions they ask to prioritize the call. For example, a motor vehicle accident with injuries would have a higher priority than a theft that is not in progress. Calls with higher priorities are dispatched before lower priority calls.
Why is the dispatcher or call taker asking me so many questions and not sending an officer?
Police dispatchers and emergency call takers are trained to ask questions. It is their responsibility to obtain enough information to determine the priority of the call, and to assist responding officers. While talking to a call taker or dispatcher on the phone about a crime that is in progress, they have entered your information into a Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system. This system allows the information to be relayed to another dispatcher who is responsible for dispatching officers. On in progress calls, the call taker or dispatcher will routinely remain on the phone with you while police officers respond.