This division represents the Hub of all information that flows into the department, 24 hours a day, through 365 days a year. The most critical communications are incoming 9-1-1 calls by both residents of the city, and visitors, often calling by cellphone. Communication staff is trained to intake 9-1-1 calls, accurately obtain vital information, and dispatch resources to the scene. Staff is highly trained and professional men and women who are dedicated in communications from the intake of calls, emergency medical dispatching that can aid the call takers to render medical assistance to victims. Staff has a number of logistical duties involved in documenting each call, and the input of data that supplies officers on the streets with enough Police, Fire, and EMS information to take the necessary steps in dealing with both victims, and suspects, along with witnesses during highly stressful incidents. The communication staff is the critical lifeline to officers responding to not only critical incidents, but also even simple calls for service that can and have resulted in highly dangerous situations. Communication dispatchers are highly trained through the state and department and are tested before taking control of the center, and continue training on a regular and demanding basis to ensure the public is protected to the greatest extent.

Communications staff has many additional responsibilities that include;

  1. Overall security and monitoring of all detainees being held in lockup
  2. Address all questions and concerns from citizen walk-ins from street.
  3. Intake all general line calls for service and personnel within department.
  4. Staff is liaisons between the Mass Trial courts in dealing with all court related documents required.
  5. Staff contacts all needed resources necessary for various calls, for example; Mutual Aid needs, State Police tactical teams, the National Center for Missing Children, Telephone providers to locate cell phone callers in distress, and many more.
  6. Relaying of vital information over secured databases to alert multiple agencies of criminal activity.
  7. Sending messages, texts, and photograph’s that give officer’s important information.
  8. Record checks for all firearms licensing, city issued permits, etc.
  9. Conduct warrant checks of persons, driver license checks for officers, court staff, and parole officers within the department and area.
  10. Support and education to department units, such as the Police Explorer’s unit.

The world of emergency communications is constantly evolving and adding services that are vital to the community to promote a healthy and safe environment for everyone. Technology upgrades and new features such as “Enhanced 9-1-1 systems are being implemented every day. Communications dispatchers are trained on a regular basis to reach the demands of these systems. The state of Massachusetts is currently moving toward the regionalization of single communication centers in order to streamline and enhance centers, serving multiple agencies within one center. Gardner is currently underway in creating a 4-agency regional/municipal center that will operate within the department’s headquarters, expected to go on-line in 2017.