E-9-1-1 Calls for Emergency Services

The radio system used by dispatchers at the Des Moines Police Department consists of nine radio channels operating within the 450 MHz range. Three of those channels are shared tactical channels used by both the Des Moines Police and the Des Moines Fire Departments. One channel (LINC) was designed to achieve interoperability with other agencies in central Iowa. There are currently 65 other agencies with access to LINC, including the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the Iowa State Patrol, Des Moines Public School Security, the Department of Public Health and a number of other metro area police and fire departments.


To insure the highest level of service to the citizens of Des Moines and its emergency services personnel, Communications Section employees dedicate many hours to training and continuing education. During their first year of employment dispatchers are required to complete a State mandated basic telecommunicator training course and also be trained and certified to make entries into the IOWA and NCIC systems. Dispatchers are also trained and certified in Emergency Medical Dispatch.


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.


The dispatchers at the Des Moines Police Department are committed to public safety and many serve the public in a number of different capacities. Some are reserve police officers, others are volunteer fire fighters.
Dispatchers at the Des Moines Police Department can be reached at the following numbers: 

• 9-1-1 Police and Fire Emergencies
• (515) 283-4811 Police Non-Emergencies
• (515) 283-4550 Fire Non-Emergencies

Communication Programs that Aid Dispatchers

Communications Section personnel have access to a number of programs to help them in their jobs, including:

A Child is Missing – a non-profit organization devoted to assisting law enforcement search for missing children, elderly, disabled persons and college students via a telephone calling system.
CodeRed – an emergency notification system used to make mass emergency notifications via telephone for situations such as emergency evacuations, school lockdowns, gas leaks and hazardous materials alerts.
Language Line – an over-the-telephone interpretation service – to assist with non-English speaking callers.

As part of its commitment to insure that 9-1-1 is always available, the Des Moines Police Department has developed contingency plans that include two emergency alternate sites. If the emergency communications equipment at the Des Moines Police Station were to become inoperable, or if there was a need to evacuate the building, equipment has been installed and plans are in place to move the dispatch operations to either the primary or secondary site.  If there is ever a need to move dispatch operations to one of the emergency alternate sites it is highly unlikely that citizens will notice a change in service.  You will still be able to call 9-1-1 and the same highly-trained and skilled dispatchers will answer your calls.


Live Dispatch Audio

To listen to Live Dispatch Audio you will need Microsoft Media Player Version 7.  This service is not provided by the City of Des Moines.