Duties of a Dispatcher

Dispatchers answer all incoming 911 calls for Grand Traverse County and the City of Traverse City. They also answer several admin lines for both Traverse City Police Department and Grand Traverse County Sheriff's Department. In 2011, over 110,000 phone calls came into the dispatch center through 911 and administration lines. This does not include any additional outgoing phone calls that are made for other requests.

Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD)
CAD is a management tool designed to accomplish many things like tracking personnel, reports, addresses, mapping, and much more. This is where every dispatched call whether it be police, fire or Emergency Medical Services (EMS) starts. This system tracks an incredible amount of information to assist agencies and departments in a variety of ways. In 2011, roughly 50,000 unique calls were dispatched. These events usually mean someone responded to a request for service for law enforcement, fire and/or ambulance related incidents.

Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN)
Dispatchers are responsible for all LEIN system management. They enter and maintain warrants for cases in our county. They get modified, as needed, at the direction of the courts. Dispatchers enter and maintain Personal Protection Orders (PPOs), court orders, probation orders from the courts in the county. Dispatchers are responsible for getting LEIN bulletins out to all local law enforcement agencies. These are regional and sometimes state-wide alerts.

Dispatchers are responsible for radio traffic for all public safety agencies in Grand Traverse County. Dispatchers monitor 10 different frequencies for traffic that are broken up into different responsibilities. Radio responsibilities are broke up into 3 categories based on the agencies the dispatcher is working for the shift; City Police, County Police, or Fire/EMS.


Dispatchers are responsible for monitoring weather related information from various sources including the National Weather Service (NWS), TV stations, LEIN and others. They make decisions and notifications based on this information to Emergency Management, Fire Services, Law Enforcement and Marine Division.

Emergency Medical Dispatching
Grand Traverse County uses what is referred to as Emergency Medical Dispatching or Priority Dispatching. The protocol is designed to send the most appropriate level of care to a patient needing medical assistance. Dispatchers ask a well-defined series of short questions, which will then determine a proper level of response for EMS providers and increase the safety of EMS personnel, as well as the general public. This has become a worldwide program and is strongly supported by Medical Control throughout northern Michigan.

Box Alarm Dispatching
This new dispatch method was implemented in 2011 for all fire departments in Grand Traverse County. This is a resource management and tracking tool. The county is geographically split into boxes. They have established what equipment they want responding to different classifications of calls within each box. Several factors were used to establish the response levels:
  • Call type
  • Distance
  • Hydrants
  • Location
  • Type of structure