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.
(M M M) Immediately Available Procedures
A written directive, which is immediately available to communications center personnel receiving calls, describes procedures to be followed, including:
- judging characteristics of the call to determine whether an emergency or non-emergency response is required;
- the handling of emergency calls, priority calls, and calls requiring special response; handling non-emergency and administrative calls including victim/witness calls by informing the caller of the public service agency's response, including direct contact with fire, EMS, or law enforcement services and/or referral to other agencies; and
- any instructions given to the caller prior to arrival of responders or call completion.
Communications center personnel are normally the first point of contact for a citizen and this initial contact can set a tone which could affect the ultimate outcome of an incident. It is inherent that the instructions must be appropriate to minimize potential liability. The provision of proper instructions can be of great public service saving lives and assisting first responders. Written procedures should be available to communications center personnel regarding the proper handling of such calls. Callers will sometimes seek to mobilize the law enforcement personnel against other citizens. Such efforts may reflect bias toward another citizen, therefore, agencies should consider an alternative call response to 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. In addition to local training, where available, personnel should attend and be certified in call taking/dispatching by a regional, state, or other competent authority. (M M M)