Emergency Communications

Police Dispatch room at night

The 11 full-time dispatchers and a few part time on-call dispatchers answer over 44,000 telephone calls during the course of the year, and have assisted in over 40,000 "calls for service". These can be anything from a motor vehicle stop to an ambulance call, to a structure fire. 

We are staffed with a minimum of 2 dispatchers on at any one time.

Along with the obvious radio/telephone work, the dispatchers also assist with data entry during the course of their shift. 

It is best to use 9-1-1 when there is an emergency. This way if you are unable to provide your address and telephone number, the dispatchers will have this information via the 9-1-1 system. 

The dispatchers play a vital role in communications between the units on the road and the public. In addition they answer all Police Department and Fire Department telephone lines, handle radio communications with all Portsmouth Police units, Portsmouth Fire and Rescue units, and Portsmouth Highway Department units. The dispatcher also has "TD" capabilities for people with speech or hearing disabilities. 

When you call, you may think that the dispatchers are asking you a lot of questions, but they need to know this information to pass on to responding units. Some of the questions they normally ask are: your name, address, phone number, what happened, the location, when it happened, is anyone hurt, any weapons involved, descriptions on suspects or vehicles involved. The information you provide the dispatcher can speed up the units response in finding your house or apprehending the suspect(s) or even saving a life. 

When you call 911 in New Hampshire, the call is answered by the Bureau of Emergency Communications in Concord. If the call is medical in nature, the 911 operator will stay on the line with you and give you instructions on how to handle the situation. The caller will also be set up on a conference call with the Emergency Communications Center where our dispatchers will send the appropriate units. 

Calls to 911 that are non-medical in nature are re-routed to the Emergency Communications Center where our dispatchers will ask you questions to determine what units need to be sent.