Emergency Dispatchers are the first contact people have during a crisis situation. The Riley County Police Department Communications Center Dispatchers are trained in emergency medical and fire call-taking providing employees the opportunity to dispatch life-saving instructions to callers in critical situations. Dispatchers are non-sworn civilians and work in the call center at the Riley County Law Enforcement Center. Dispatchers have a wide range of responsibilities including coordinating response for police, fire, EMS, and other agencies in emergencies. Integrity in service is important at RCPD, shown in the quality of employees, supervisors, trainers, and staff at our organization. When you need help, we will answer the call.
- How to Apply To Be A Dispatcher
To apply for current open positions follow this link to the Riley County Police Department's Career Center: https://bit.ly/38OsYxE
In the Career Center, you will find current position openings, and/or you can "Join Our Talent Community" to be notified as soon as a position becomes available.
If you're looking for a career, not just a job, the Riley County Police Department is the place for you.
The RPCD Communications Center offers regionally competitive salaries, health insurance, dental insurance, and retirement benefits We are proud to offer education incentives, training opportunities, and supervisory roles.
- Dispatcher I & Dispatcher II
Dispatcher I is responsible for call-taking including the 911 line and the administrative line. Dispatchers who are in this level do data entry such as inputting information into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database. Dispatcher I employees receive NCIC training along with emergency medical and fire certification during their initial training cycle. Training for Dispatcher I candidates is about 3 months long. Current starting hourly rate for Dispatcher I: $17.33
Dispatcher II adds on radio dispatching for the Riley County Police Department, Riley County EMS, the Manhattan Fire Department, and Riley County Fire District #1. This additional work requires 3 months of training on top of the previous 3 months acquired in the Dispatch I level for an estimated total of 6 months. Current starting hourly rate for Dispatcher II: $19.10
- How to Apply to Do a Sit-In
To help foster a positive relationship with the community and to help citizens better understand what our dispatchers do on a daily basis, the Riley County Police Department has a sit-in program that puts citizens in the communication center with dispatchers. People can get a first-hand look at the work dispatchers face each day and hopefully come away with a better understanding of the services we provide.
Sit-in participants only act as observers. They do not perform any law enforcement work that the dispatcher would normally do. They do not wear a uniform, handle department equipment, or complete any official paperwork. To apply for a sit-in, complete this Ride-Along Application. Next, save as a PDF and then submit by e-mail to the address posted at the bottom of this page (this form does contain personal and contact information).
- The Communication Center Manager, or designee, may allow civilians and law enforcement personnel from other jurisdictions to do a sit-in with dispatchers.
- Juvenile participants under age eighteen must secure additional approval from their parents or legal guardian.
- No more than 2 participants may sit-in during the same time period.
- Participants will complete and submit their Application and Waiver of Liability at least 14 days in advance of their preferred sit-in date and time.
- Applications will be routed to the Public Information Officer for processing.
- A local background check and criminal history check is completed on all applicants.
- Upon final review, the Public Information Officer or shift supervisor will contact the participant to notify them of their eligibility status.
- Required for all participants;
- Must be signed by all participants age 18 and over;
- Must be signed by all parents of participants under 18 years of age;
- Will reflect inherent risks of the sit-in program and the participant/parent's acceptance of these risks;
- Will reflect participant restrictions and instructions.
- Clean, casual clothing in good condition is acceptable;
- Shorts or sleeveless shirts are not allowed;
- Open-toed shoes are not allowed.
- Conduct themselves in a civil and courteous manner at all times;
- At all times obey the directives of the dispatcher with whom they are observing;
- Not interfere with dispatchers while in the performance of their duties;
- No photograph or recording by any means, any activity, person or area without permission of the dispatcher;
- Not become involved in the arrest or physical control of any person;
- Not carry weapons while participating in the sit-in program, unless you are an active Law Enforcement Officer.
For more information or to schedule a sit-in contact:Communications Center ManagerTyler Siefkes(785) 537-2112 x2520
In 2019 the Riley County Police Department Dispatch Center upgraded its infrastructure to Next Generation 911 which features text-to-911 as part of its enhanced capabilities.
"This provides emergency Dispatchers a method to better serve our citizens as text-to-911 service becomes available for members of the deaf, hard of hearing, speech impaired, and nonverbal aphonic communities within Riley County,” Communications Center Manager Tyler Siefkes said.
Citizens should always call 911 when possible. Text-to-911 is a secondary option for situations where speaking would put you in more danger such as some domestic disputes and home invasions.
“The text option should be utilized by those experiencing an emergency situation where speaking may put you in harm’s way.” Siefkes said. “We encourage the public to call 911 if you can, and text if you can’t.”
To send a text to 911, use the message icon on your cell phone and put 911 in the number field (do not enter with dashes). In the message, include the location of the emergency you are reporting and whether you need police, fire, and/or medical assistance. Once you have initiated a text-to-911 conversation, do not delete the message or turn off your phone until the dispatcher tells you it is ok.
Text-to-911 accepts written words, not pictures, emojis, or video at this time. A text or data plan with a major wireless provider is required to use this service.
- What To Do In Case of an Emergency
When you first call for emergency help, take a deep breath, listen, and wait until you hear “Riley County 911” before you start speaking.
There are several important details you should try to relay to dispatch if at all possible:
- The address of the incident
- Your phone number in case of disconnect
- What is happening
- Information about those involved
The dispatcher you are speaking to will begin to ask you a specific set of questions. In the heat of the moment, it may seem like the questions are not important, or irrelevant to the situation, but the questions are critical. Dispatchers will work as a team to pass the information you provide along to other first responders and get help to you as quickly as possible. Training and experience help dispatchers know the important information to gather to ensure the appropriate first responders show up on scene.
Your responses to the questions help police, firefighters, and EMTs have a plan of action as they are en route to your location so they can better respond when they arrive with the correct equipment available.
If law enforcement is needed dispatchers may ask:
- What happened
- When it happened
- Descriptors on people involved
- Weapons or current threat levels
- The direction of travel if people left the scene
- Vehicle descriptors (color, make, model, tag, or any unique identifiers)
- What other influences — drugs, alcohol, etc. may be involved
If firefighters or medical help is needed:
Dispatchers will gather information to provide EMTs and Firefighters to appropriately determine what equipment is necessary and a potential treatment plan for time-sensitive situations. In medical situations, dispatchers will ask for the gender and age of the person involved and some medical history if available. At this point, it’s not necessary to tell dispatchers how you know the person needing assistance, how you’re related, etc.
By answering dispatchers' strategic questions instead of just relaying vague information it will prevent the need to repeat, and aid in getting help to you as quickly as possible. This also helps to decrease the likelihood that important details will be missed.
Remember — when you’re involved in an emergency it can feel like time stops. Please be patient as the dispatchers are working quickly behind the scenes to coordinate with potentially life-saving services.
While you’re on the phone, other dispatch team members are doing background work of notifying the appropriate agencies to respond, relaying critical information, and gathering additional information.
Extensive training helps dispatchers make split-second decisions. They will determine who to send while also taking into account the area, responders on call, standard operating procedures, and much more. They will determine if police, fire, or EMS need to respond emergent — using lights and sirens. Dispatchers will decide which agencies need to be notified beyond first responders to include basic utility companies, local government crews, state agencies, animal control, the coroner, and many others.
If there are safety concerns, dispatchers will coordinate with law enforcement to provide a secure environment for whatever emergency aid needs to be performed.
Dispatchers are the first contact you have with first responders. Our highly trained team of professionals are here to serve you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
- Is This An Emergency or Not?
What is an emergency? It may seem like an easy question to answer, but an emergency to one person, may not be urgent for the next. Life experiences, knowledge, and individual circumstances among other things may lead people to differ on their opinion of a true emergency.
If you call 911 for a non-emergent matter, our highly trained team of dispatchers will politely ask you to call back on our administrative line so the emergency line is free for critical use.
Some questions you may ask yourself to determine if there is an emergency:
- Is a person's life or someone's health in danger?
- Is property in danger?
- Is public health or the environment in danger?
- Is it vital that units respond right now?
If you answer yes to any of these questions, please call 911.
Why not just call 911 no matter what instead of utilizing administrative numbers? Calls to 911 for any other purpose than reporting an emergency could reduce the number of 911 call takers and phone lines available to those needing immediate help. It's important to save 911 for those who may require life-saving assistance. If you are ever in doubt if what is going on is an emergency, call 911 and our dispatchers will help talk you through the proper steps to take.
To contact us in case of emergency: Call 911
To contact us for any other police or law enforcement matters: Call our administrative line (785) 537-2112
We are here to help you around the clock through our emergent and non-emergent line.
- Accidental 911 Calls
Oops! You accidentally called 911.
Don't stress! And don't hang up!
If you accidentally call 911, please stay on the line and speak to a dispatcher. Even if we haven't answered when you hang up, our efficient computers and programs register the call. For safety reasons, we need to verify if there is an actual emergency. If you hang up, we will try to establish contact with you based on the information our system obtained from the call. If you call from a cell phone, it will most likely tell us the number you called from and the last cell phone tower you were near, giving us an approximate address. If you accidentally call from a landline, it will most likely give us a more exact address. We will attempt to call you back, but if we are unable to establish contact, first responders may be dispatched to your location to determine if there is an emergency.
If you stay on the line and explain the situation, the process will be short and simple. Dispatchers may politely provide guidance on ways to prevent accidental 911 calls in the future.
If you are in an emergency situation, but can't verbally share your location over the phone, you have the ability to share your exact location with our dispatchers through the app "what3words."This app assigns 3 unique words to every 3 meter square in the world. You can text those 3 words to 911 and our dispatchers will be able to see your location and send the necessary assistance.If you feel you will ever be in a situation where officers need to know your location but you won’t be able to verbally tell us where you are, please download this app.Remember, you can text 911 if it is ever not safe to call for help. Enter 911 in the number field, text your emergency and three words if applicable, and leave your phone on.
You can download what3words on the app store or google play.
- Radio Upgrade to Digital
In late 2020, the Riley County Police Department's radio system was upgraded from the old 'Very High Frequency System' (VHF) to the new 'Digital 800 Megahertz' system.The upgrade allows first responders to communicate with each other during emergencies. Before the change, inter-jurisdictional communication was not possible with other local first responders.The old radio system covered less than 50% of the county, the new radio system covers about 97%. This upgrade in communication gives Riley County First Responders a better way to serve our community.The radio system is Project 25 (P25) compliant. P25 was developed by the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials International (APCO) to suit the standards for North American digital radio communications for federal, state, and local public safety organizations and allows for interoperable, multi-agency communications during an emergency.This system significantly improved our radio communications throughout the county, outside of buildings, and reduced dead spots where the radio would not work properly.P25 is a solution to intra-agency communication as it allows for interoperable, multi-agency communications during an emergency. The old radio system did not allow regional first responders to talk to each other. The new system allows first responders to more efficiently communicate between agencies while responding to active incidents.The frequency we now use is 769-824 MHz. One of the benefits of the P25 digital radio over an analog radio is the ability to securely encrypt calls without impacting the coverage area. We now have an encryption key for each of the channels. Most of our talk groups (TG's) are now encrypted so responders can share specific scene information, protecting HIPPa sensitive materials.If a citizen chooses to purchase the appropriate scanner they can still hear some of the daily chatter about non-call related items. Additionally, some fire and EMS TG's are not encrypted and citizens may hear the initial paging information.
- NextGeneration 911
In September 2019, Riley County Police Department Emergency Communications Center upgraded its infrastructure to Next Generation 911, an internet-based system.
The transition to NG911 is the beginning step toward enhanced capabilities such as more accurate caller location and a faster, more resilient emergency system. Next Generation 911 allows for text-to-911 services in addition to the potential for sending and receiving other digital information and data in the future. Currently, in Riley County, Next Generation 911 has added plain text-to-911 to our services available for those in our community. Video and image sharing to our dispatch center is currently not available.
The upgraded system enhances the ability of emergency call centers to communicate with each other through the modernized communication structure. NG911 accommodates how people communicate currently through cell phones and other devices.
- Dispatchers - Emergency Responders
In March 2021 Dispatchers officially became classified as “emergency responders” in Kansas after Governor Laura Kelly signed Sentate Bill 40 into law.
Dispatchers are most often the first point of contact for people in emergency situations and play a critical role in getting help to people when they need it most.
Senate Bill 40 states that emergency responders now include: law enforcement officers, firefighters, 911 call-takers, emergency medical services personnel, physicians, nurses, physician assistants, public health personnel, emergency management personnel, public works personnel, and individuals with skills or training in operating specialized equipment needed to provide aid in a declared emergency.
- Telecommunication Week
Every year during the second week of April, we honor our dispatchers during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week (NPSTW).
Emergencies can occur at any time that requires police, fire, or emergency medical services. A prompt response is critical to the protection of life and preservation of property. The safety of our police officers, firefighters, and paramedics is dependent upon the quality and accuracy of information obtained from citizens who call the RCPD Communications Center. Dispatchers are the first and most critical contact citizens have with emergency services. They are the vital link for police officers, firefighters, and paramedics by monitoring their activities by radio, providing them information, and ensuring their safety.
Public Safety Dispatchers of the Riley County Police Department have contributed substantially to the apprehension of criminals, suppression of fires, and treatment of patients.
Each dispatcher has exhibited compassion, understanding, and professionalism during the performance of their jobs. All citizens of Manhattan and Riley County observe National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week in honor of the men and women whose diligence and professionalism keep our city, county, and citizens safe.
Below you will find videos created as part of the #IAM911 movement to showcase the unseen work dispatchers do for our community in recognition of NPSTW.
- Communications Accreditation
As of April 2022, Riley County Police Department (RCPD) has officially begun the process for the Public Safety Communications Accreditation Program through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA).
“RCPD has held Law Enforcement Accreditation for a long time and we’ve seen the benefit of having those standards,” said RCPD Support Captain Brad Jager. “We want to ensure the same professional level of service to the community with our Dispatchers who are the initial First Responders for Riley County.”
The RCPD Communications Center will undergo a five-phase process to earn Accreditation, beginning with today’s enrollment. A period of internal self-assessment will precede a formal CALEA assessment of implemented policies and procedures with a final commission review and decision to follow. Finally, the Communications Center will be responsible for maintaining compliance and seeking re-accreditation. The Communications Center will strive to comply with all 207 standards of the Public Safety Communications Accreditation Program.
“Our Communications Center is an integral piece of RCPD’s operation and continues to place itself at the forefront of emergency response practice and procedure,” said Interim Director Kurt Moldrup. “Accreditation ensures these standards remain intact into the future.”
The voluntary Accreditation program will provide the Communications Center with a process to internally review and assess its operations and procedures. The program will require staff to collect and analyze important data with the overall goals of ensuring staff accountability, making sound operational and administrative decisions, and promoting leadership within the center. Accreditation in the Communications Center will focus on quality assurance, interoperability, emerging 911 and dispatch technologies, risk analysis, asset security, resource access, contemporary training, and a range of other operational functions.
The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials International, Inc. (APCO International), the leading communications membership association, partners in the development and maintenance of the CALEA Standards for Public Safety Communications Agencies Manual which are subject to ongoing review and revision.
RCPD has held Law Enforcement Accreditation through CALEA since 1991, when it became the first Nationally Accredited law enforcement agency in the state of Kansas.
For additional information or to obtain a copy of a specific standard contact Julia Goggins, the Department’s Accreditation Manager, at (785) 537-2112 ext. 2398.