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Proposed revision to Communications 6.2.7 Handling Difficult Callers

At the November 2019 Covington, KY meeting of the Standards Review and Interpretation Committee (SRIC) the committee directed staff to post the following standard and requested changes to the clients for comments.  Please post your comments or send correspondence to CALEA by Friday, January 24th, 2020.

The CALEA Emerging Issues sub-committee reviewed several standards related to the issue of addressing bias-motivated calls for service generated by the public.  The commentary is proposed for updating to bring attention to this potential issue. 

6.2.7

(M M M) Procedures for Handling Difficult Callers

The agency has written procedures for handling calls from persons that seem under substance influence, may be suffering from mental health issues, are difficult, or are obscene.

Commentary

Calls that appear coming from a person under the influence of alcohol or drugs may instead be from a person suffering from a medical or mental incapacitation. Even the intoxicated may pose a threat by driving or taking some other unpredictable action that may endanger themselves or others. Some callers may use obscene and abusive language and while a telecommunicator disconnect may be appropriate in many cases, it is imperative that the call taker first establish enough information to ensure that there is in fact not an emergency or priority service call involved in the situation. It may be necessary to handle the call to obtain necessary information. Telecommunicators should recognize that callers will sometimes seek to mobilize the police against other citizens and that such efforts may reflect bias. Agencies should consider how training, policies, supervision, and alternative call response approaches can minimize the risk that personnel are placed in situations where they are being mobilized as a reflection of a caller’s bias toward another citizen.  The agency should also establish a policy on following up such calls with other appropriate action. (M M M)

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