Communication Centers

The Communications Center is the lifeline that connects citizens with emergency services. It is the responsibility of the Communication Specialists to determine the nature and urgency of each call and route it to the proper response unit as quickly as possible.

When they receive a 9-1-1 call regarding a medical emergency, dispatchers ask callers questions specific to the patient’s chief complaint. This helps them determine the proper response. The information the dispatcher obtains from the caller is passed on to the responders to help them prepare to assist the patient as soon as they arrive on the scene. When necessary, dispatchers are qualified to provide medical instructions over the telephone before the emergency responders arrive.

Dispatchers are trained to ask questions to assist you in reporting an emergency. During life-threatening emergencies, while one dispatcher is asking the caller questions another dispatcher is sending responders to the location of the emergency. When you call 9-1-1 remain calm and answer the dispatcher’s questions so they can better serve you

There are three communication centers that serve Polk County.

City of Des Moines Communication Center

The communication center in Des Moines dispatches for police, fire and emergency medical services for the City of Des Moines. For more information please click here.

Sheriff Bob E. Rice Communications Center

The Sheriff's Office dispatches for 16 law enforcement agencies and 15 fire departments. For more information please click here.

Westcom Dispatch Center

Westcom is a consolidated public safety dispatch facility that receives public safety related calls and dispatches police, fire and emergency medical services for the cities of West Des Moines, Clive, Urbandale and Norwalk. For more information please click here.

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