View Full Version : Police Dispatching Procedure

04-04-2018, 12:43 AM
I'm writing a story set in 1962 in rural America and I have a few scenes where a deputy sheriff needs to call in a public disturbance and a murder.

I'd like to know how/if the procedure is different than it would be today or if the fact that it's set in a small town might change how the deputy might respond to or call in for back-up.

Thank you!

04-04-2018, 02:01 AM
in a small town might change how the deputy might respond to or call in for back-up.

Thank you!

You might try When You are the Only Cop in Town (https://www.amazon.com/When-Youre-Only-Cop-Town-ebook/dp/B01GQGVU5K/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1522792505&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=when+you+are+the+only+cop+in+town) by Debra Dixon, I don't know if the guy's term goes back that far, but you could get a good picture of small town enforcement.

04-04-2018, 03:24 AM
Thank you so much!

04-04-2018, 07:57 PM
How does the deputy sheriff discover the disturbance and/or murder? Does he just stumble across the scene, or does someone report it, via telephone or in person at the station? Does the sheriff's radio dispatcher then communicate the run over the radio to the mobile sheriff's patrol unit? It's important to get the sequence of events relevant to the discovery of the crime scene clear for the reader. Remember, it's 1962 - two-way radio and landline telephones are the only means of fast communication.

Once on the scene, the first responding deputy sheriff could radio for back-up if deemed necessary. That back-up might include local municipal police officers and state troopers. Mutual support was, and still is, very typical in rural areas.

04-05-2018, 09:47 PM
The book is set in an unincorporated community so I've been thinking that the deputy will actually work for the county instead of the town?

How I have it written in the first draft is that he stumbles across the scene while with his daughter. Since they live in such a small town his patrol car is also his home car (I'm working on assumption with that but it can change if I need to.) and dispatches for the sheriff/back up using a HAM radio. The deputy has an idea of where the suspect of the murder would be and wants back up. The dispatcher tells the deputy that the sheriff is at the location already responding to a disturbance. So the deputy heads over there to be the back up for the sheriff.

I want to get the language correct as well since I'm not sure if codes have changed since then?

Thanks for the input ironmikezero!

04-06-2018, 10:16 PM
A sheriff's primary jurisdiction is the county. A deputy can be assigned a patrol area that includes the town in which he resides. If he's using a personally owned vehicle as his radio-equipped patrol unit (not unusual in the '60s), he'd get a stipend/reimbursement for mileage, etc.

Rural patrol units used low-band radios (not HAM sets). http://commandradio.com/basic-understanding-of-two-way-radio-frequencies-low-band-vhf-uhf/

Have characters making radio transmissions use simple/generic ten-codes and speak in plain English - don't confuse the readers.


Above all, keep it simple. I'd avoid using most ten-codes other than:

10-4 - transmission acknowledged
10-7 - out of service
10-8 - in service
10-20 - location

The ten-codes have evolved since inception; so, stick to these basic ones. Remember, don't confuse your readers.

04-07-2018, 10:38 AM
Thank you! This is exactly what I was looking for!