The Thin Gold Line

Regardless of your emergency—whether it’s a crime in progress, a medical crisis, or a fire threatening your home—the first person who answers your call for help is a dispatcher. Even though dispatchers can't see what’s happening, they serve as the eyes and ears of our first responders, the guiding angels who make sure we arrive at an emergency as quickly as possible.

This week is Dispatcher Appreciation Week and I can’t begin to express the gratitude I have for the work our dispatchers do. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, dispatchers are available to answer frantic 911 calls. They provide our officers with much needed back-up, and they assure that fire and medical personnel racing to our aid have the resources and information they need.

If you have to call 911, please remember these tips to help our dispatchers help you!

  • Make sure you know where you are. If a dispatcher does not know where you are, they cannot get aid to you.


  • Listen to the dispatcher’s questions. Dispatchers are trained to gather information in the shortest possible time, so they can send the appropriate first responders to the scene.


  • Answer their questions. Even if you don’t understand why a dispatcher asks you a question, answer it as well as you can. The questions being asked are important; otherwise, dispatchers wouldn't waste time asking them.


  • Telling dispatchers to hurry up doesn't speed things up. It's completely natural to say things like "Please hurry!" in an emergency, but it's important to remember that dispatchers are doing everything they can.


  • Remember that a dispatcher’s tone does not reflect how much they want to help you. Sometimes dispatchers use their mean voices with callers. It's because they have to take control of a situation (especially if someone is panicking).


  • Finally, stay calm. I know this is easier said than done, but dispatchers know the best outcomes for the scariest calls come when callers are able to maintain their composure.


Our dispatchers are true heroes who work tirelessly to ensure our safety. They represent the thin gold line between what could happen (without assistance) and what does happen when first responders arrive on time.

On behalf of our entire community, thank you, dispatchers for all you do!

School and Workplace Safety

Based on concerns about threats in our community during the last few weeks, I thought it important to remind everyone of some simple safety tips. First, if you hear of a threat, please share that information with law enforcement. We take these very seriously and want our community to be as prepared as possible for every crisis.

School and workplace shootings—what we call “active shooter” situations—do happen and it is important we prepare in every possible way. If civilians are caught in an active shooter situation, the rules are simple: run, hide and fight.

If you can run from danger, then run. If you can’t run or if running puts you in harm’s way, then hide: lock and/or barricade the door, close the blinds, and be as quiet as possible while calling 911 to let us know where you are. If you can’t hide, your last option is to fight back.

You’re probably thinking, “Is it reasonable for me to try to fight off an active shooter?” Our response is, YES! Active shooters are intent on harming people. Don’t help them by making it easy for them. Instead, fight, fight, fight. Throw items, yell and scream, work with each other as a team and act as aggressively as possible.

I promise that first responders will be running to help you win the fight, so keep fighting until we get there. Commit to winning the battle; your chance of survival is proven to be much greater if you take action.

As always, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you have suggestions on how we can improve, please call me. If you would like to know more about crime in your neighborhood, you can sign up for telephone, cell phone and email notifications by clicking the Nixle button on our website: 

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