We, the members of the Washington Communications Department are committed to excellence in public safety, providing a vital link between residents and visitors of our city and its three emergency services. We are committed to providing the fastest and most efficient response to calls possible, while striving to collect and disseminate requests for service in a professional and courteous manner.

As Communication Officers we are the first component of the public safety response team. Without leaving the workplace, we are first to ‘arrive on the scene’. Using our acquired skills we gather and relay information, provide pre-arrival instructions, track each incident, process and update information as situations unfold.

We are pledged to the highest standard of integrity, ethics, excellence and teamwork in our performance. In carrying out our mission, we help to save lives, protect property, stop crime and prevent loss through fire; thus making The City of Washington a safer community in which to live, work and visit.


The Communication Officers assigned to this division perform a variety of duties including the dispatch of police, fire and emergency city crews, (such as Public Works).

Responsibilities Involved

  • Monitoring movements of police and fire;
  • Answering 911 calls within the city limits of Washington, disseminating to the proper resource
  • CodeRED (ONSLOVE) Community Notification System
  • Interface with Missouri Uniform Law Enforcement System, (MULES) and the National Crime Information Center, (NCIC);
  • Provide pre-arrival instructions for fire and law enforcement emergency situations;
  • Observe prisoners via video cameras in holding areas;
  • Track weather conditions and set off alarm sirens when needed;
  • Maintain a source of local information for the general public.

In October 2016, in conjunction with the Washington Police Department and the Washington Volunteer Fire Department, the Communications division implemented a new Computer Aided Dispatch program, (CAD). This update gives us the ability to interact between the Police Department records management program and the Fire Department’s firehouse program. It also provided our Police Department with Mobile Data Terminals (MDT), mapping with Automatic Vehicle Locators (AVL)  It further allows us to efficiently and accurately track activities for our emergency services.

In the last year, over 30,480calls have been processed by our Communication Officers, including:

  • 23,333 Police calls
  • 6,550 911 calls
  • 597 Fire reports

A Communications Officer receives calls for police, fire, or other emergency equipment, for the street, water/wastewater, parks or other departments; at which time the Communications Officer contacts by radio or telephone the person (s) to be called, or unit or units to be dispatched, giving the type and location of the emergency and other pertinent information. The Communications Officer also answers 911 calls and gives the appropriate instructions to the caller and determines what emergency equipment is needed to respond to the call. The Communications Officer is the only link between the road officer, fire crews, and help, and is often the only link between the citizen and help.

Required knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Strong communications skills required. A level of maturity to maintain a calm demeanor during crisis situations. Ability to speak in a clear and concise manner under pressure. Ability to maintain composure in tense situations and deal politely with all callers. Ability to use communications related and standard office equipment. Ability to function with minimal supervision. Must be able to type 35 words per minute.

Education Required

High school graduate or the equivalent thereof.

Comments from Communications Officers

Why I got into dispatching….….

I got into the emergency service field because I wanted to do a job that really meant something. I wanted a job that would be something different everyday.

Because I wanted something challenging.

What I like most about being a Communications Officer……..

The variety of calls I receive. I seem to learn something new everyday.

The teamwork. Having a great partner, we work well together and can anticipate each other’s actions. Working closely with personnel from all agencies to bring help and assistance to everyone who calls our center. Knowing that every call I handle I gave 100%.

I like being able to make a difference by helping people with their problems.