Captain Thomas Moore
1835 Sheridan Dr.
The communications center provides dispatching services for both the police and fire departments; including Emergency Medical Dispatching for the residents of the Town and Village of Kenmore. Many aspects of dispatching are similar for both departments. However, each department has its own special needs as dictated by the type of calls they handle and their established procedures.
Public Safety Dispatchers perform communications duties for the Police, Fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) coordination of the Town of Tonawanda. The center is also responsible for dispatching EMS in the Village of Kenmore. They answer citizen calls for service, both emergency and non-emergency, dispatching police officers, firefighters and equipment to handle any type of situation. Communications Center personnel provide the vital first-link between citizens and the Town's resources. Their performance directly contributes to the safety and well-being of the Department's officers and the Town's residents. The Town of Tonawanda Communications center handles incoming calls for service in a two-step method. The calls are received by complaint dispatchers, who screen the call and either refer the caller to the appropriate radio operator, or take information for referral to the front desk officer. Incident information is entered into the Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) computer which records all incident information and tracks the status of all officers and units in the field.
Public safety dispatchers are required to multi-task in order to expedite the processing of information and/or requests. For example, public safety dispatchers must be able to question a caller at the same time they are typing information into a computer. It is not as easy as it sounds but it is a skill that can be learned. The
training program provides the guidance and opportunity to become a successful dispatcher. The public relies on dispatchers for help. The dispatcher is a critical link between the community and emergency services. Dispatching is demanding work. There are situations where matters of life or death can depend on the public safety dispatcher. It can be stressful. It can be uneventful. It can be intense for many hours or just a few minutes. This roller coaster can take an emotional toll, as it can be all of these things in one shift. Law enforcement officers depend on dispatchers for information to help ensure their safety and the public’s. The dispatcher’s judgment, ability to obtain accurate information and knowledge of available resources are vital. Whether it is a life and death situation or a citizen’s complaint, every call should be handled in an efficient and professional way. Dispatchers encounter a variety of challenges. While remaining calm and professional, a dispatcher must evaluate each call for service as rapidly as possible, obtain relevant information from citizens
regardless of their state of mind, research premise history, check names for warrants, ensure officer
safety and simultaneously relay that information to units responding. Dispatchers also need to know
department policies and procedures, the basic elements of crimes, local geography and available
resources. Dispatchers are an integral part of the law enforcement team. They play a vital role in
aiding people in trouble, stopping crime, preventing crime, investigating crime and ensuring the
officer’s and public’s safety. Public safety employees protect and serve the public. The public has a certain expectation of us. The basic expectations are to ensure public safety, protect life and property, enforce laws, prevent crime, reduce fear of crime, solve community problems, generate and maintain public trust, uphold
constitutional rights and treating all people with respect.
Code of Ethics for Dispatchers
The following is an adapted version of the Code of Ethics for dispatchers, which was provided by The
Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) and written by Evert E. Carter, Chief
Dispatcher Williamson County Sheriff’s Department Marion, Illinois 1981.
As a Public Safety Telecommunicator, I am dedicated to serve the public; to safeguard life and
property; to keep my personnel informed on all calls that may require their attention; to assist all
public safety personnel in the performance of their duties; assure that all rules and regulations that
govern my position are not violated in any manner. I will keep my private and social life free from all
criticism; maintain a calm attitude during times of stress and emergencies; develop self-control and
be constantly mindful of the welfare of others, regardless of race, creed, or religion. I will obey the
laws of the land, rules, and regulations of the Federal Communications Commission and my
department. Whatever information I receive of a confidential nature will be revealed only in the
official performance of my duties. Becoming an Exemplary Public Safety Dispatcher I will never act in
a selfish or unofficial manner or let my personal feelings, friendships, prejudices or animosity
influence my decisions. I will enforce the rules and regulations of my department and the Federal
Communications Commission without fear, favor or ill will, never employing unnecessary force and
never accepting gratuities. I recognize the high responsibility of my position as a symbol of public
faith and trust and will accept it to be held as long as I am faithful to the ethics of public safety service.
I will constantly strive to achieve those objectives and ideals, which govern my profession, dedicating
myself, to my chosen profession of public safety telecommunications.
The Communications Bureau has 17 full-time employees and 10 part-time employees.
The Communications Center maintains various record files such as lists of business owners, resident contacts, alarm systems, school information and day care centers to name a few. The center can be a busy, noisy, high paced place to work, and dispatchers must often devote total concentration to the radio for long periods of time. This profession involves an individual's ability to multi-task regularly and work under high stress situations at times.
Full-Time dispatchers are hired in accordance with Erie County Civil Service Department rules In order to be considered for a full-time dispatcher's position you must have completed 60 college credit hours in any discipline and take the public safety dispatcher exam, as administered by Erie County Civil Service. If you pass the exam your name will be placed on an eligible list according to your grade. Only Town of Tonawanda and Village of Kenmore residents are eligible for positions in our Dispatch Unit. The eligible lists are valid for an average of 4 years, unless required sooner. If you are interested in a career as a full-time dispatcher, follow this link to the Erie County website and search the current exam offerings. Current Erie County Civil Service Exams
Click this LINK to see what an announcement looks like. It also explains the qualifications at the time of this last exam in 2016. The exams are valid for an average of 4 years (or as necessary) so don’t miss out on a great career opportunity.
Becoming a Part-Time Dispatcher: NO EXAM
An individual must be a Town or Village resident, and have at least a high school diploma or equivalency. Dispatcher and or Fire Experience is a plus but not required. No exam is needed.
Applications can be obtained through the Town Of Tonawanda Personnel office located at 291 Ensminger Road, Suite 2 Tonawanda, NY 14150. We are always accepting applications, although they must be completed in person at the personnel office.