Central Communications and 9-1-1 Center
The Communications Center is part of the Support Division and is under direct supervision of the Support Services Division Commander. Communications is staffed by 8 full-time dispatchers along with part-time personnel. There are two dispatchers on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Enhanced 9-1-1 System
Also known as a Public Safety Answering Point or "PSAP" the Communications Center operates an enhanced 9-1-1 system. This means that all 9-1-1 calls received at this PSAP are displayed to a computer screen. The information available to a dispatcher will typically include the name, address and telephone number of the owner of the property and a list of those emergency services, i.e. police, fire and ambulance, that respond to that location. There are at least two dispatchers on duty at all times and are supervised by the Support Services Division Commander.
The Enhanced 9-1-1 system is designed to speed the response to emergencies. The dispatcher does not need to solicit the information that is already displayed. In many instances callers are emotionally charged, which can consume valuable time. In every instance however, a dispatcher will verify the information with the caller to ensure that a response is made to the actual location of the emergency. It is not uncommon to receive a 9-1-1 call from an individual who had been speaking with a relative living in another town, when suddenly that relative falls ill and needs medical assistance.
Wireless Subscriber Location Abilities
Our dispatchers play a vital role in helping police to locate missing persons, fugitives from the law, or others whose safety may be in jeopardy by locating cell phone and other wireless device subscribers.
Aside from utilizing GPS and triangulated location portion of the enhanced 9-1-1 data from cell phone callers, dispatchers can work closely with police and wireless service providers to "ping" the location of a subscriber's cell phone to locate them in an emergency. This capability has also been successfully used during the investigation of major crimes to provide evidence of an offender's location.
Hang-up or Misdial 9-1-1 Calls
This PSAP does receive a number of 9-1-1 calls where the caller disconnects with the dispatcher before speaking with anyone. The majority of these hang-up calls are by error but in some instances are discovered to be true emergencies. It is important for the caller to stay on the line in the event of an error. The call can only be disconnected by the dispatcher who will need to gain as much information about the call before passing it along to patrol officers. The policy of the Newton Police Department is that we will investigate every hang-up 9-1-1 call to ensure that no emergency exists. In those instances where calls are received in those areas for which we provide 9-1-1 and dispatch services, the appropriate law enforcement agency is notified immediately.
Coordination of Mutual Aid Units
During a large scale emergency which requires a large number of resources, dispatchers play an important role in coordinating units as they are responding to the scene.
Conversely, during a time that emergency units are unavailable or already committed to other incidents, dispatchers employ the agency's mutual aid protocol to summons nearby available units that can assist.
Emergency Call Handling
Every dispatcher receives special training in receiving and handling emergency calls. Each is also trained in providing emergency medical instructions over the phone to individuals who can or are willing to try to assist in a medical emergency or other hazardous condition. The Communications Center utilizes approved Emergency Medical Guide Cards in providing such instructions. To date these emergency protocols have been used successfully in medical emergencies involving heart attacks, stroke, shock, allergic reactions and childbirth.
Required Certifications and Training
The Communications Center is operated by civilian personnel who are required to attain certain certifications and levels of training before being qualified to operate the communications desk. At a minimum an individual receives:
- 40 Hours Basic Public Safety Telecommunicator Course
- 32 Hours Emergency Medical Dispatch
- 8 Hours CPR/AED Training
Once training is completed a dispatcher will be assigned to a veteran dispatcher for field training where the skills learned through basic training are refined and applied to real life situations. Several full and part-time dispatchers have additional certifications and training as fire fighters and emergency medical technicians and are part of local emergency service organizations in their own communities.
Many police officers begin their career in public safety as a dispatcher. If interested in a position, visit our employment page or contact Lt. Mark Zappa at (973) 383-2525 or .
The Communications Center processes an average of over 20,000 calls per year and serves the following municipalities:
- Borough of Branchville
- Frankford Township
- Fredon Township
- Hampton Township
- Lafayette Township
- Town of Newton
- Montague Township
- Stillwater Township
- Sandyston Township
- Walpack Township
We supply direct dispatch service for the following agencies:
- Newton Police Department
- Newton Fire Department
- Newton First Aid Squad
- Branchville Fire Department
- Frankford Fire Department
- Fredon Fire Department
- Hampton Fire Department
- Lafayette Fire Department
- Montague Fire Department
- Sandyston Fire Department
- Stillwater Area Volunteer Fire Department
- Swartswood Fire Department
- Beemerville Fire Department
- Fredon First Aid Squad
- Hampton EMS
- Blue Ridge Rescue Squad
- Frankford First Responders
- Lafayette EMS
- Montague First Responders
- Stillwater EMS
- Newton Department of Public Works
- Newton Water and Sewer Utility
- Newton Parking Authority
- Newton Office of Emergency Management
- Wantage Animal Control
We also process requests for a variety of other resources such as: