General Order 81.1

Last Revised: 11/1/03


This order consists of the following numbered sections:

81.1.1    Regional communications facility

81.1.2    FCC compliance

81.1.3    24-Hour, toll-free emergency telephone access

81.1.4    Radio capability

81.1.5    Computer-aided dispatch system

81.1.6    Radio procedures

81.1.7    Access to resources

81.1.8    Receiving victim/witness calls

81.1.9    Immediate playback capability

81.1.10    NCIC/WACIC participation

81.1.11    Emergency messages

81.1.12    Misdirected emergency calls

81.1.13    Private security alarms

81.1.14    Telephone/mail reports

81.1.15    Communications center security

81.1.16    Alternate power source

81.1.17    Telephone system

81.1.18    Mobile/portable radio equipment

81.1.19    Cellular telephones

81.1.20    Mobile computer terminals

81.1.1 Regional communications facility

I.    The communications function of the Olympia Police Department is provided by the Thurston County Communications Department (CAPCOM), a shared, multi-jurisdictional, County-wide communications agency.

II.    Communications operations are governed by inter-local agreement.

A.    The agreement grants CAPCOM the authority to conduct communications operations for the Department, and vests responsibility and accountability for complying with all applicable communications standards with CAPCOM, on behalf of the Department.

B.    The agreement specifies two, member-staffed boards: the Administrative Board (the CAPCOM governing board) and the Operations Board (an advisory board for operational oversight and technical direction).

81.1.2 FCC compliance

CAPCOM, on behalf of the Department, conducts radio operations in compliance with all applicable FCC procedures and requirements.

81.1.3 24-Hour, toll-Free emergency telephone access

I.    Through CAPCOM, the Department provides toll-free, single number, emergency telephone access via the county-wide E911 System.

II.    The Department has a direct line for immediate communication between the Department and CAPCOM.

III.    CAPCOM provides 24-hour telephone coverage of both E911 and non-emergency phone lines.

81.1.4 Radio capability

I.    The Department utilizes radio equipment that provides the capability for continuous, 24-hour a day, two-way radio communication among all on-duty officers, CAPCOM and the Department facility.

II.    The equipment used by CAPCOM and the Department is designed to assure 95% or better radio coverage in the jurisdictional service area.

81.1.5 Computer-aided dispatch system

I.    CAPCOM utilizes a computer-aided dispatch system (CAD) to record relevant information regarding requests for service (both criminal and non-criminal) and employee-initiated activity.

II.    The following information is entered into the CAD system regarding each activity:

A.    A unique incident number;

B.    The date and time of the incident;

C.    The name and address of the requestor (if known);

D.    The incident type;

E.    The incident location;

F.    Identification of the officer assigned as the primary responder;

G.    Identification of the officer(s) assigned as backup responders;

H.    Time the first responder was dispatched;

I.    Time of the officer’s arrival at the scene;

J.    Time the officer cleared the scene;

K.    Disposition or status of the activity;

L.    A brief synopsis of the activity;

M.    OPD case number (if assigned);

N.    Other information as may be designated by the Administrative Board.

81.1.6 Radio procedures

I.    Proper radio communications increase the efficiency of police operations and enhance employee safety. Employees are expected to follow radio procedure protocols and to provide CAPCOM and fellow employees with pertinent information in a timely manner.

II.    All of the Department’s marked patrol vehicles are equipped with Mobile Computer Terminals (MCTs). MCTs help to reduce the need for verbal communication using the police radio system. Use of MCTs to communicate routine activities (e.g., indicating arrival or clearing of lower priority calls, indicating out of service for breaks, etc.) is encouraged to keep radio channels clear for communications that require verbal exchange.

III.    Employees use radio communication to document non-routine activities, including, but not limited to, the following:

A.    Location of a traffic or subject stop;

B.    A change of location of a specific activity;

C.    Location of a contact/attempted contact with a suspect in a crime;

D.    Status check, as requested by a dispatcher;

E.    Start/end of prisoner transport;

IV.    CAPCOM records all officer activities, locations and times in the officer’s unit history in the CAD system and retains that record for a period of time specified by CAPCOM policy.

V.    Each employee using radio communications is identified by a unique radio call sign. Call signs are assigned as specified in the CAPCOM operational guidelines on call-sign designators. Other than as permitted in the agreement, employee call signs do not change without formal notification to CAPCOM.

VI.    All Department vehicles used in enforcement and transport activities are equipped with radios that permit communications with the other CAPCOM agencies and the Washington State Patrol.

VII.    The CAD system is programmed to recognize multiunit response situations, based on call-type and other variables. The basic criteria for officer assignment are as follows:

A.    Routine calls for service are generally handled by one unit.

B.    The following situations may result in a two-unit response by the CAD system:

1.    Officers requesting/requiring help;

2.    Maintenance of order calls -fights, assaults, domestic violence, mental illness, disorderly/intoxicated persons.

3.    Felony crimes in progress;

4.    Death investigations;

5.    Events with weapons seen/involved.

C.    On-duty supervisors closely monitor incidents that occur in the field, and respond to the calls that suggest supervisory or command presence would be beneficial.

D.    On-duty supervisors are notified and either respond personally or provide for command presence at the scene when any of the following incidents occur:

1.    Homicides;

2.    Fatal traffic accidents;

3.    Deaths from public/industrial accidents;

4.    Public disasters;

5.    Assaults where death may occur;

6.    Abductions, missing persons where foul play or suspicious circumstances are suspected;

7.    Officer-involved shootings;

8.    Officer-involved collisions;

9.    On-duty injury to any personnel;

10.    Remarkable arrests or captures;

11.    Armed robberies with shots fired or injury to victims;

12.    Any request for SWAT activation;

13.    Any other event which has probability for high public visibility.

81.1.7 Access to resources

I.    CAPCOM has immediate access to the Department via telephone. In addition to the direct line, CAPCOM has access to all on-duty patrol officers and supervisors via assigned cellular telephones, MCTs and pagers.

II.    In addition to direct line and wireless contacts, CAPCOM personnel are provided with the following resources:

A.    Daily assignments - the supervisor and officers on duty, and area assignments for the day.

B.    Maps of the Department’s service area.

C.    Guidelines for emergency services procurement and tactical dispatching situations.

D.    Other appropriate City call-out lists for after hours notification.

III.    Telephone numbers and emergency contacts for all Department personnel are kept in a master personnel roster that is maintained by the Executive Secretary. A copy of the master personnel roster is also kept in the City Emergency Operations Center.

IV.    The CAD system provides CAPCOM with current officer status indicators.

81.1.8 Receiving victim/witness calls

I.    CAPCOM employees are as thorough as possible in interviewing reporting parties to determine if an emergency or non-emergency response is required.

II.    CAPCOM employees inform reporting parties of the response to expect from the Department. If Department response is not required and another service is appropriate, the CAPCOM employee may advise the reporting party regarding how to contact the agency that can provide the requested service.

III.    Victims/witnesses contacting CAPCOM for follow-up services are advised to contact either the assigned officer or the Victim Assistance Coordinator directly.

81.1.9 Immediate playback capability

CAPCOM records all E911 calls and all radio communications, and has the capability of immediate playback while it maintains a continuous recording of radio transmissions and emergency telephone conversations.

I.    CAPCOM master recordings (digital hard disks) are maintained for a minimum of ninety (90) days unless a member agency requests a certified copy of a specific telephone call or radio transmission.

II.    Requests for information from CAPCOM incident/unit history master recordings are made as specified in CAPCOM operational guidelines.

III.    CAPCOM is responsible for the secure handling and storage of recordings.

IV.    Conversations recorded on CAPCOM master recordings may be reviewed, subject to the criteria specified in CAPCOM operational guidelines.

81.1.10 NCIC/WACIC participation

I.    The Department participates fully in the Washington Crime Information Center (WACIC) and the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) programs. [see also 82.3]

II.    Both CAPCOM and certified Department personnel have access to the WACIC and NCIC programs through the ACCESS system. ACCESS is available through all MCTs and through designated fixed computers to permit certified personnel to query information through the various states’ driver and vehicle license bureaus, criminal history systems and other criminal justice data systems allowed by law.

81.1.11 Emergency messages

The receipt and delivery of an emergency message -from a citizen or another law enforcement agency - may be initiated by CAPCOM as a call-for-service.

I.    Each request for emergency message delivery is evaluated to determine its priority (i.e., response code).

II.    The on-duty supervisor is notified whenever a death notification is requested.

81.1.12 Misdirected emergency calls

I.    Because CAPCOM is a County-wide entity, most misdirected emergency calls can be properly routed internally.

II.    When CAPCOM receives an emergency call that cannot be properly routed internally, the CAPCOM employee will endeavor to facilitate the connection of the reporting party with the appropriate jurisdiction.

III.    When a misdirected emergency call is received directly by the Department, the Department will endeavor to facilitate connection of the reporting party with the appropriate jurisdiction.

81.1.13 Private security alarms

I.    Neither the Department nor CAPCOM directly monitors private security alarms.

II.    Private security alarm information is received and processed by CAPCOM by means of telephone contact from private alarm monitoring companies, according to protocols established in CAPCOM operational guidelines.

III.    Private security alarm notifications received at CAPCOM are dispatched as specified in CAPCOM operational guidelines and as authorized by the Department.

IV.    Olympia Municipal Code (OMC) Chapter 16.46 describes the conditions for operation of private police alarm systems in the City. Also specified are the consequences for generating police response to false alarms.

V.    A Department employee is designated as Alarm Administrator for purposes of assuring compliance with OMC 16.46.

VI.    The Department maintains internal alarms in certain high-risk areas. Activation of an internal alarm generates a distinctive tone throughout the police facility. The internal alarms in the Court and Jail also alert CAPCOM

A.    Internal Department alarms are located in the following areas:

1.    Municipal Court;

2.    City Manager’s office;

3.    City Jail;

4.    Temporary detention room;

5.    OPD front desk

6.    Secure property storage areas.

B.    All commissioned personnel in the police facility respond to activation of the internal alarms.

C.    CAPCOM advises the area officer and the on-duty supervisor of activations of internal alarms in the Court or Jail.

81.1.14 Telephone/mail reports

I.    To improve the use of patrol time, certain types of case reports may be taken via telephone by an officer or any other designated person, rather than the officer making personal contact with the complaining or reporting party.

II.    The following types of reports may be taken over the telephone by CAPCOM personnel:

A.    Thefts (less than $500, no leads or suspects);

B.    Vehicle prowls (no leads or suspects);

C.    Malicious mischief (less than $500, no leads or suspects);

D.    Lost property (no leads or suspects);

E.    Suspicious circumstances (no leads or suspects, not in progress or just occurred).

F.    Other incidents, as may be authorized by the Chief of Police.

81.1.15 Communications center security

I.    The CAPCOM communications center is located in the City of Olympia. CAPCOM is a secure facility with access limited to authorized personnel only.

II.    CAPCOM assures the security of transmission lines, antennas and its alternate power source through a combination of surveillance cameras and security fencing.

III.    The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office responds to calls for assistance or back-up resources from CAPCOM personnel.

81.1.16 Alternate power source

CAPCOM and the City maintain independent alternate power sources to ensure continuous emergency communications in the event of a disruption in the primary power source.

81.1.17 Telephone system

CAPCOM maintains sufficient telephone lines that, under normal call loads, all E911 emergency calls can be answered within thirty (30) seconds and all non-emergency calls can be answered within sixty (60) seconds.

81.1.18 Mobile/portable radio equipment

All on-duty police officers, cadets and detention officers are equipped with multi-channel portable radios that permit two-way communications with CAPCOM, other radio-equipped Department personnel and law enforcement personnel from the other CAPCOM member agencies.

81.1.19 Cellular telephones

I.    Patrol officers, supervisors, commissioned administrators and other key personnel are provided with access to cellular telephones.

II.    The Department’s cellular telephones are for business-related use only.

81.1.20 Mobile computer terminals

I.    Department vehicles assigned for routine use by patrol officers and patrol supervisors are equipped with mobile computer terminals (MCTs).

II.    MCT use is subject to all applicable local, State and Federal rules and regulations applying to security, confidentiality and business use of law enforcement data networks.