Chicago Police DepartmentGeneral Order G03-01-01
Radio Communications
Issue Date:13 July 2016Effective Date:13 July 2016
Rescinds:10 April 2013 Version
Index Category:Field Operations
This directive outlines:
  • A.Department's Radio Communications System.
  • B.uniform broadcasting procedures.
Department members will refer to the Special Order titled "Radio Communications" for an overview of the Radio Communications System.
II.General Procedures
  • A.With the integration of the Data Radio Network into the Department's Radio Communication System, MEMBERS WILL ENSURE THAT ANY PDT DISPATCH FUNCTION IS ALSO ACKNOWLEDGED/REPEATED OVER VOICE RADIO.
  • B.Unless extenuating circumstances exist, a dispatcher will dispatch all assignments to field units by voice radio over the assigned police radio channel.
  • C.If a field unit is equipped with a portable data terminal (PDT), the assignment will also be sent via the police computer aided dispatch (PCAD) system to that field unit's specific data terminal.
  • D.When contacting the dispatcher for service, the member will give his radio call identification number, e.g., "711."
  • E.When paged, the member will answer with his radio call identification number.
  • F.A member who has received and understood a radio transmission will acknowledge it with his or her radio call identification number and appropriate code, e.g.:
    • 1.A one-officer unit: "711, 10-99."
    • 2.A two-officer unit: "711, 10-4."
  • G.Members who receive their assignments by voice radio and, if equipped, via a PDT, will:
    • 1.maintain contact with the dispatcher.
    • any changes in availability status to the dispatcher via voice radio only. Changes in availability status are subject to the approval of the dispatcher and/or field supervisor.
    • 3.if equipped, clear the assignment via the PDT and voice radio.
  • H.A member who requests a change in availability status for any reason not covered by an assignment, will:
    • 1.notify the dispatcher of a change in status via voice radio only.
    • 2.include the reason for (or nature of) the change and the member's specific street location.
  • I.When transmitting on the Voice Radio Communications System, members will use Department-issued radios ONLY.
    • 1.Radios will be operated on the primary channel unless the dispatcher directs that a different channel be used.
    • 2.If operational considerations dictate that a field unit contact another unit on a different channel, the field unit must obtain permission from the dispatcher on the primary channel before switching to another channel.
    • 3.Radios will not be turned off during an assignment unless:
      • a.unusual circumstances exist,
      • b.approval has been obtained from a supervisor, and
      • c.the dispatcher is notified.
    • 4.Radios will be turned off during actual appearance at court/hearings and beat community meetings after notifying the dispatcher.
  • J.When the assigned unit is staffed by one officer or if an officer requests assistance, dispatchers will assign an assist unit according to the protocol listed in Item IV-B-2-b of this directive. This does not preclude additional units from assisting officers in emergencies.
  • K.Occasionally, a radio- or PDT-equipped unit may fail to respond to a page because of a malfunction. When a malfunction occurs, members will:
    • 1.promptly investigate a silent radio or blank PDT screen for mechanical failure;
    • 2.notify the dispatcher by the quickest means. The dispatcher will notify the member's immediate supervisor of the equipment malfunction; and
    • 3.request repair service or a replacement radio/PDT/MDT in accordance with Department directives.
  • L.An officer responding to an on-view incident will:
    • 1.immediately notify the dispatcher via voice radio (on the primary channel) and include the following information:
      • a.type of incident, and
      • b.address of incident.
    • 2.respond according to the provisions in the General Order entitled "Preliminary Investigations" and related directives unless relieved of this responsibility by a supervisor assigned to the district of occurrence.
  • M.When making a vehicle stop, officers should, if circumstances indicate, inform the dispatcher of the following:
    • 1.reason for stop
    • 2.location of stop
    • 3.vehicle's license plate number and state of issuance
    • 4.vehicle color, year, make, body-style
    • 5.number of occupants.
  • N.The dispatcher will be responsible for:
    • 1.preparing the appropriate computer aided dispatch (CAD) event record.
    • 2.issuing an RD number, if necessary.
  • O.The Chief, Bureau of Patrol:
    • authorized to issue bureau-level directives that list those actions of patrol units that require a notification of status to the radio zone dispatcher, (e.g., citizen assists, foot patrol, premise checks, etc).
    • 2.will specify those actions when a unit will be taken out of service.
III.Specific Procedures
  • A.Completion of Preliminary Investigation
    • 1.Officers will:
      • an accurate or approximate address to the dispatcher if:
        • (1)the dispatched location of the assignment:
          • (a)is different from the assignment's actual location, or
          • (b)was dispatched using intersecting streets only.
        • (2)the preliminary investigation has moved to a different location.
      • the dispatcher with the appropriate Illinois Uniform Crime Reporting (IUCR) code when the investigated incident requires a case report.
      • c.immediately return to service upon completing each assignment by:
        • (1)informing the dispatcher that they are available for further assignments.
        • (2)providing the appropriate number-letter code as listed in the Miscellaneous Incident Reporting Table CPD-11.484, if applicable.
      • d.follow the procedures outlined in the Department directive entitled "Portable Data Terminal" when required to work overtime and need the continued use of a PDT.
      • e.notify their zone dispatcher by radio or PDT, if equipped, upon completion of the assignment when they have worked overtime.
    • 2.Dispatchers will:
      • a.monitor the status of units on assignment from the previous watch.
      • b.notify the appropriate supervisor if assigned personnel have terminated their tour of duty and have not informed the dispatcher of the results of their assignment.
  • B.Emergency Radio Calls For Assistance
    • 1.Officers will:
      • a.precede their radio call sign with the word, "Emergency,"
        "Emergency 715 - Police officer needs assistance (10-1), 5648 S. Paulina," or

        "Emergency - 725 - Ambulance required for injured person at 6852 S. Ashland," or

        "Emergency - 712 - Woman with a gun, 6120 S. Racine."
        The specific circumstances of an emergency may affect a field unit's call for assistance. Dispatchers should be aware that some urgent transmissions may not conform verbatim to the procedure enumerated in this item.
      • b.not impede emergency transmissions.
      • c.notify the dispatcher when responding as an assist unit, e.g., "733 assisting."
      • d.respond when an emergency call is simulcast over a City-wide channel ending with a zone number with:
        • (1)their beat number;
        • (2)the words: "assisting in" ; and
        • (3)the district's zone number.
        Dispatcher: "All units in the 7th District and City-wide: Officer needs assistance (10-1) 5648 S. Paulina, Zone 6."

        Radio Unit: "9603 assisting in Zone 6."
    • 2.Dispatchers will:
      • a.give immediate attention to all emergency radio transmissions from officers seeking assistance.
      • b.order all other officers to standby.
      • c.dispatch the nearest available patrol units.
      • d.utilize the "Simulcast" broadcast so that all radio-equipped units in the vicinity may respond.
      • e.end the "Simulcast" broadcasts with the zone number.
  • C.Missed Radio Call Procedures
    • 1.When a radio-equipped unit assigned to the Bureau of Patrol fails to respond to a minimum of three separate pages in an estimated one-minute period, the dispatcher will:
      • a.immediately notify the member's supervisor;
      • b.prepare a redline event notification and notify the City-wide 7 dispatcher; and
        The City-wide 7 dispatcher will notify the OEMC communications operations manager.
      • c.ensure that an immediate telephone notification is made to the unit of the unresponsive radio - equipped unit.
    • 2.The unresponsive radio unit's immediate supervisor will ensure that an immediate investigation is conducted, including a check of the officer's radio and PDT, and take appropriate action.
    • 3.The unresponsive radio - equipped unit's commanding officer will ensure that appropriate action is taken.
  • D.Wanted Message Procedure
    • 1.Wanted messages are classified into two types:
      • a.PRELIMINARY WANTED MESSAGE (QUICK FLASH) — a brief message transmitted via radio providing descriptions or other pertinent information on wanted persons, motor vehicles, or property taken in a specific crime.
      • b.FORMAL WANTED MESSAGE — a preliminary wanted message given to the City-wide 3 dispatcher, then forwarded to the appropriate radio zone for rebroadcast.
    • 2.Wanted messages will be sent for:
      • a.criminal or quasi-criminal incidents when:
        • (1)a definitive description of a wanted person or vehicle is available, and
        • (2)there is a strong probability of apprehension of the offender(s).
      • b.noncriminal incidents when exigent circumstances exist, e.g., lost or missing children.
  • E.Notification Procedures
    In addition to the notifications required in the Department directive entitled "Preliminary Investigations," a field unit will make the following notifications for any major crime or significant incident shortly after such occurrences come to the attention of the police:
    • 1.PRELIMINARY NOTIFICATION - information normally transmitted over a field unit's primary radio frequency, then forwarded to the Crime Prevention and Information Center (CPIC) by OEMC personnel.
    • 2.FORMAL NOTIFICATION - all available information is conveyed via telephone to CPIC.
  • F.Open Transmitter Key
    Open transmitter keys interfere with the transmission of all other officers attempting to contact the dispatcher.
    • 1.Officers must be especially alert for open transmitter keys so as not to endanger other officers.
    • 2.Dispatchers will note the identification set number of any radio with an open transmitter key and notify the appropriate supervisor to identify the radio's operator and alleviate the situation.
  • G.Traffic Crash Investigations
    911 call takers or dispatchers will attempt to ascertain if a traffic crash is a Type "A" or Type "B" and dispatch units in accordance with existing directives.
  • H.Patrol Activity
    • 1.Supervisory personnel may:
      • a.access data from the OEMC's PCAD system, via the PCAD work station, and
      • b.obtain information concerning the activity of patrol units relative to productive/non-productive time and current status.
    • 2.District executive officers and field supervisors will:
      • data related to productive/nonproductive patrol time.
      • b.ensure efficient time-management techniques are practiced.
IV.Dispatch Procedures
  • A.Dispatchers are:
    • 1.provided with a means of determining which police units are available for assignment.
    • 2.authorized to assign police units.
    • the extent possible, required to maintain beat integrity in the assignment of units.
  • B.Using the following protocol, the PCAD system automatically organizes and prioritizes each event prior to dispatch. Unless extenuating circumstances exist, dispatchers will follow the OEMC protocol listed below when dispatching assignments:
    • 1.PRIORITY 0 POLICE (10-1) and FIRE UNIT CALLS FOR EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE: involves any life-threatening circumstances which have the potential to compromise the safety and well-being of police, EMS, or fire units. Dispatchers will follow the procedures enumerated in Item III-B-2 of this directive and assign the closest available unit for all Priority 0 calls.
    • 2.PRIORITY 1IMMEDIATE DISPATCH: a response to a call for service that:
      • a.involves an imminent threat to life, bodily injury, or major property damage/loss, or
      • deemed necessary by Department guidelines. Dispatchers will assign primary and assist units to Priority 1 calls in the following order:
        • (1)rapid response unit or beat unit from the beat of occurrence,
        • (2)tactical unit,
        • (3)rapid response sergeant,
        • (4)sector sergeant,
        • (5)tactical sergeant,
        • (6)other field supervisor, and
        • (7)closest available unit.
    • 3.PRIORITY 2 — RAPID DISPATCH: a response to a call for service:
      • which timely police action which has the potential to affect the outcome of an incident, or
      • deemed necessary by Department guidelines.
        To ensure beat integrity, dispatchers will adhere to the protocol enumerated in Item IV-B-2-b when assigning primary and assist units to Priority 2 calls.
    • 4.PRIORITY 3 ROUTINE DISPATCH: a response to a call for service that does not involve an imminent threat to life, bodily injury, or major property damage/loss, and a reasonable delay in police action will not affect the outcome of the incident.
      • a.Priority 3 assignments may be delayed in dispatching:
        • (1)when compelling circumstances exist;
        • (2)during watch changes; and
        • (3)during assignment pending (backlog) situations when the number of calls for service exceeds the number of available field units.
          The dispatcher or call taker will inform the citizen that a field unit will respond to the call for service as soon as resources permit. These assignments will be dispatched within a reasonable period of time.
      • b.To ensure beat integrity, dispatchers may:
        • (1)give a beat unit multiple Priority 3 assignments, but only when the beat unit is clear from its last assignment;
        • (2)hold Priority 3 assignments pending the return of beat units; and
        • (3)NOT give a Priority 3 assignment to a beat car off its assigned beat without the permission of that unit's supervisor.
    • 5.PRIORITY 4 ADMINISTRATIVE DISPATCH: used to process requests for service that:
      • a.the field unit initiates (e.g., beat community meeting, beat team meeting, problem solving, foot patrol, etc.). When initiating an administrative assignment, an officer will provide the dispatcher with the specific reason for that assignment, (e.g., beat meeting).
      • b.the dispatcher generates for administrative purposes. The dispatcher will accurately enter the specific event code into the PCAD system for each administrative assignment.
        To ensure beat integrity, dispatchers will attempt to relegate Priority 4 messenger assignments to the nearest available rapid response unit.
    • 6.PRIORITY 5 ALTERNATE RESPONSE: a response to a call for service that conforms to Alternate Response Section strategies enumerated in the Department directive entitled "Alternate Response Section Case Reporting Policy" and does not otherwise require the dispatch of a field unit.
  • C.If the beat unit is unavailable and is not expected to return within a reasonable time period, the:
    • 1.beat unit will advise his or her sector sergeant of any anticipated extended period of unavailability.
    • 2.sector sergeant, after consulting with the rapid response sergeant, will designate a rapid response unit, incident car, squadrol, or other district field unit to cover the beat and inform the dispatcher of the change of assignment.
      Before designating a field unit not under the sector sergeant's direct supervision, the sector sergeant will first confer with the unit's supervising sergeant.
  • D.The dispatcher will contact the field supervisor for guidance when a radio assignment backlog exists.
  • E.If a rapid response unit is on a nonemergency assignment and another nonemergency call for service is received at or near its location, dispatchers may assign the call to that unit.
  • F.To the extent possible, officers will receive single assignments on their beats/sectors. However, when operational needs dictate, an officer may be given:
    • 1.multiple assignments.
    • assignment outside the unit's assigned beat, sector, or district.
  • G.A police officer will not refuse any radio assignment. If an officer refuses a radio assignment, the dispatcher will notify the officer's supervisor who will take appropriate action.
  • H.Any changes in the priority protocol enumerated in Item IV-B are subject to the approval of the Chief, Bureau of Patrol.
  • A.Field officers will:
    • alert for radio calls and PDT messages;
    • 2.acknowledge radio calls and PDT messages without delay;
    • 3.carefully listen to and read the message as appropriate;
    • 4.respond immediately to radio calls and PDT messages; and
    • 5.accept assignments at once and without dispute.
      • a.An officer may advise the dispatcher of circumstances that make it inadvisable to accept an assignment.
      • b.The decision of the dispatcher will be final unless altered by a supervisor.
    • conditions to the dispatcher when they are the first unit to arrive on the scene of a PRIORITY 0 or an emergency PRIORITY 1 incident.
    • 7.make themselves available for further assignment immediately after an assignment is completed.
    • 8.inform the dispatcher that they are proceeding to the location of the next assignment at the completion of each previous assignment. Officer safety is the primary purpose for this rule.
  • B.Field supervisors will:
    • 1.monitor the radio and PDT to ensure that assignments are consistent with the policy regarding beat integrity; and
    • 2.upon notification from OEMC of uncompleted assignments from the previous watch:
      • a.instruct the dispatcher to reassign those assignments to the appropriate field units; and
      • b.determine the reason for the uncompleted assignments and take appropriate action.
    • 3.monitor radio assignments pending (RAP) and:
      • a.acknowledge receipt of radio assignments pending (RAPs) from the OEMC zone dispatchers by providing his or her beat number;
      • b.perform a check of district resources via PDT to determine if any field units can be released from assignments currently holding them down;
        This includes tactical, incident, and saturation teams working in the district.
      • c.request a status check of all field units via zone radio, if necessary;
      • d.repeat steps V-B-3-a through c periodically, until RAP is ended; and
      • e.note in the supervisor's management log (CPD-11.455) the time the RAP started, efforts made to end the RAP, and the time the RAP ended.
        Pending the significance of the RAP, supervisors may deny lunches, personals, station assignments, and other nonemergency police functions until the RAP is over.
    • order to serve a specific and appropriate police function, direct a dispatcher:
      • a.not to assign a call for service to a specific unit.
      • reassign a call for service from one unit to another unit. When a unit is outside a supervisor's immediate area of responsibility, that supervisor must consult with the unit's immediate supervisor before directing a dispatcher to reassign that unit's assignment.
        Radio silence by a supervisor implies consent with the dispatcher's assignment of a unit to a call for service.
    • 5.override an OEMC dispatch of a field unit if the call for police service may be referred to the Alternate Response Section based upon criteria outlined in the Department directive entitled "Alternate Response Section Case Reporting Policy."
      • a.The appropriate Miscellaneous Incident Code Number (1-19), along with the letter S (Sam), describing the police action, will be given to the OEMC dispatcher by the field supervisor reassigning an OEMC dispatch to the Alternate Response Section for police service.
      • b.If an event is dispatched to a field unit by OEMC and is subsequently designated S-Sam and sent to ARS by a field supervisor, that event will be investigated by ARS. If an ARS supervisor determines that the event did not meet ARS qualifications per General Order 04-01-01, titled "Alternate Response Section Case Reporting Policy," and should have been dispatched, the ARS commanding officer will send a report documenting the event to the Crime Prevention and Information Center (CPIC).
  • C.The station supervisors will ensure that:
    • 1.the watch assignment line-up (unit roster), including the tactical teams, is submitted to OEMC at least one hour prior to each respective roll call via the PCAD system. Any changes to the watch assignment line-up after it has been submitted must be entered in the PCAD system as they occur.
      Station supervisors will submit the watch assignment line-up via facsimile message only if the PCAD system is inoperable.
    • 2.assignments dispatched from the OEMC are consistent with the policy regarding beat integrity.
(Items indicated by italic/double underline were added or revised)
Eddie T. Johnson
Superintendent of Police
16-036 TSS