By Virtual Academy

Fourth of July is a time for celebrations, family, food, and fireworks.  But for public safety personnel, it can be a time for explosions, disputes, drunk drivers, and a high volume of calls.

Be sure your department is prepared for this year’s holiday with these tips.

For Telecommunicators

  • Make sure you have a pen and paper at hand so you can write down details when you’re getting too many calls to load into CAD right away.
  • Prioritize calls as they come in: first, attend to those with an injury; second, focus on officers entering dangerous areas; and third, save noise complaints for last.  
  • Remain polite to callers complaining about fireworks being shot in their neighborhood. It’s impossible to send officers to every neighborhood, but that doesn’t mean you should get frustrated with callers.
  • Leave the main channel open for true emergency traffic. Use other means at your disposal to communicate with officers about unimportant calls. Officer safety is a high priority!
  • Call in help to answer the phones and dispatch calls if possible.
  • Expect to be tied to the desk for long periods of time without the opportunity for a lot of breaks.
  • Come to work prepared for anything. You never know what will happen.
  • Expect to talk to intoxicated people, angry and argumentative family members, and parents upset about child custody issues.

For LE Supervisors & FTOs

  • Remind new officers about specific areas in the town to watch. Make sure they know where they’ll need to call for backup before entering.
  • If you can, have a second dispatcher come in to help answer the phone and dispatch calls.
  • Pair new officers with more seasoned officers for officer safety.
  • Keep the traffic on the main channel to a minimum in case there’s an emergency.
  • Keep bottled water in patrol cars so officers can either drink them or hand them out to citizens, if necessary.
  • Use best practices and tact when confiscating fireworks and writing citations.
  • Ensure animal control is on call to help with animals that run away or get lost.
  • Brush up on field sobriety procedures before each shift.
  • Take every call seriously. Don’t just assume fireworks aren’t gunshots. Be sure to follow up and ensure that everyone is safe.
  • When encountering juveniles with fireworks, check to see that there is an adult present.