Dispatchers & Racist 911 Calls

Dealing with racist calls
Buda Dispatch Center – Photo by the City of Buda

We’ve all seen the many, many instances of white people calling the police on black people for no reason other than they are black.  Sleeping in your dorm common room, babysitting, coaching, moving into a new apartment, trying to get to your apartment, waiting for an appointment, and so much more are all things that have been reported to the police because black people were the ones doing them.  Things that white people do all the time with no one calling the police on them.  All of us also probably wonder why the dispatcher sends the police out on these ignorant calls and why the police go.

Dispatchers function under very tight guidelines.  Every call they take is recorded.  Everything has to be taken seriously.  They are not allowed to decide which call should have officers sent and which call shouldn’t.  They can list the importance of the call but they can’t ignore them.  This puts the dispatcher right in the middle of racist Americans using the police to target minorities.

Vox.com published an essay by a write who used to be a dispatcher.  It’s a good read and gives a good idea of the bigotry and stupidity that dispatchers have to put up with in addition to very tough working conditions.

It’s easy to blame the dispatchers and the officers but let’s be honest.  When we call the police don’t we want to be taken seriously?  And if the dispatcher makes a wrong call and someone gets hurt can you imagine the liability for the city or county?  It doesn’t mean what is happening is right but there has to be a way to handle these calls that protect everyone rather than allowing white people to weaponize the police against minorities.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *