U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Dispatch Goes Tactical

NCJ Number
Law and Order Volume: 53 Issue: 11 Dated: November 2005 Pages: 70-75
Johnette Dell Susan Van Dien
Date Published
November 2005
6 pages
This article discusses the benefits and challenges associated with the creation and implementation of a Tactical Dispatch Unit (TDU) within the Communications Unit to work in tandem with a Tactical Intervention Team (TIU). To better understand the purpose of a TDU, the basic duties and responsibilities of the TDU are identified.
Having a Tactical Dispatch Unit (TDU) within the Communications Center allows the center to be incident specific which is identified as a change towards improvement. The TDU supports the Tactical Intervention Team (TIU) by providing communications, organization, information, and data to help maintain officer and public safety while they mitigate high risk or critical situations. The TDU also establishes the importance of communications in all vital department functions. However, along with the benefits of such a unit, TDUs face many challenges. TDUs can be expensive due to the need for TD (Tactical Dispatcher) members to train with TIU members jointly and away from their communication center. In addition, TDUs have been perceived as “special” which may divide the center personnel. Also, the TDU is not always well received on the police side which requires a change in attitude and perception. In order to see the benefits of a TDU, it is necessary to identify the basic duties and responsibilities of the TDU. These duties include, but are not limited to, the TD attending the initial briefing with the rest of the TIU; the TD standing ready to take over the Tactical Channel; and the TD being requested to respond to the scene of the incident and work in the Tactical Command Post. Duties and responsibilities of the TD during an incident are to provide interoperable communications between the various disciplines on the scene, make requests for additional resources, dispatch personnel for relief, and relay and update weather, explosive, or hazard information.