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Open carry prompts additional training for 911 dispatchers

Oklahoma City dispatchers are trained to ask more questions when a 911 caller reports seeing a subject with a gun.
BY LEIGHANNE MANWARREN Published: October 31, 2012

If you call 911 to report seeing someone with a gun, expect the dispatcher to ask a few more questions starting Thursday, a police training analyst said.

In preparation for the open carry law going into effect, 911 dispatchers have undergone additional training, said Jamie Welch, an Oklahoma City police communication division training analyst.

“The way we're training our dispatchers to handle that call is to ask the caller a series of questions that is going to include getting the description of the subject with the weapon, what kind of weapon is it, where are they located ... if that weapon is holstered or unholstered. Just basic questions to ascertain what the situation is,” Welch said.

Oklahoma City police officers went through day of training to learn the new procedures when open carry goes into effect. Welch said the communication division went to that training and modified it to relate specifically to call-taker duties.

There was a focus on the specifics of the law so dispatchers can answer questions callers may have about the law, she said.

Training for dispatchers is online-based with an assessment afterward and a supervisor's follow up to ensure dispatchers understand their new duties, Welch said.

Police don't know if the volume of calls will change with the open carry law going into effect, but the department is ready.

“This is just part of our normal duties. Everybody is trained and they are able to handle the call volume. We are fully staffed so that won't be a problem at all,” Welch said.


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