About the Center

About the Communications Center (9-1-1)

Established by city ordinance, the Elkhart City Communications Center dispatches all police, fire and ambulance services within the city limits of Elkhart. The center currently operates with a Department Head, Assistant Department Head, Training Coordinator and 15 full time dispatchers.  Communications is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week and operates on three shifts, 6:30am-2:30pm, 2:30-10:30pm and 10:30pm-6:30am. The center is typically staffed with 4 dispatchers working each shift; however, minimum staffing does allow them to work with three dispatchers.  During peak hours and weekends shifts, the center is normally staffed with four and sometimes up to five dispatchers. This can fluctuate depending on personal vacation time taken, holidays, and time of year.

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In 2015, the Elkhart City dispatchers handled 102,499 incoming calls for assistance. The busiest month of the year was August, where dispatchers fielded 10,781 calls.

 

Elkhart City dispatchers are trained “hands-on” in a 40 hour a week training program by the Training Coordinator.  This training involves learning to answer incoming emergency and non-emergency calls, having a working knowledge of the city roads and businesses, and dispatching proper police, fire and ems units to calls when needed.  Dispatchers are also required to become CPR certified, and NCIC/IDACS (National Crime Information Center/Indiana Data and Communications system) certified; this gives them clearance to run driving records, criminal histories, FBI checks and Local wants/warrants for a variety of agencies. They are also required to complete a 3 day Emergency Medical Dispatching course that certifies them to give pre-arrival medical instruction on the phone before first responders arrive.  Training for new hires generally lasts anywhere from 3-5 months depending on experience and the trainees’ personal abilities.

 

A typical day in the center is multi-faceted. Dispatchers answer incoming 9-1-1 calls that are placed within the city, all non-emergency and business lines, several direct dial private lines and currently receive cellular calls via a transfer in. The types of calls received can range from someone needing directions, information on parade routes and times, citizens reporting minor complaints and more importantly, 911 calls that require immediate assistance and can be for a variety of reasons such as; fires, burglaries, heart attacks, childbirth, etc. Dispatchers also send police, fire & ambulances’ to emergency calls in the city and  many times contact several support agencies for special circumstance calls.

 

Although our dispatchers do not always know the outcome of an incident, the end goal is to make sure all calls for help are processed quickly, efficiently and with care. The safety and security of our citizens is our priority and all of our dispatchers regularly display this through their quick actions, team work and empathy.

 

Text 911 Logo

Things you should know:

  • 911 is for emergencies only. Ex. fires, burglaries, heart attacks, childbirth.
  • Non-emergency calls can be directed to the Communications Center on the business line: 293-2175
  • When calling, be prepared to advise your location, name, phone number and reason for call.
  • Speak slowly & clearly, this will help the dispatcher determine your needs quicker and get help to you faster.
  • When calling from a cell phone, dispatch does not have access to your address. Your phone’s GPS can direct us to within 100ft of where you are most times but if you are in a dense area, apt complex, inside large store, we will not be able to pinpoint you.
  • You can text to 911 now, however voice is best. If you can call and speak, that is recommended. (https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/text-911-quick-facts-faqs)

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Contact Us

Michelle E. Miller,
Department Head

Communications Center (911)
135 E Franklin St
Elkhart, IN 46516
Get Directions  | Location Details
  • Phone:  (574) 293-2175
  • Fax:  (574) 294-5530
  • Staff Directory

Communications Department

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