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Dispatch: What Are Zones & Teams?

Whether you’re an administrator organizing your command center, a dispatcher bringing officers on duty, or an officer on your way to the scene of an activity, operational zones, work zones, and teams are essential components of the Dispatch application. This article will help explain just what zones and teams are, how they’re used, and why they’re so important.

What are operational zones?

Operational zones (also known as opzones, for short) are the large areas within your organization where officers will be working. If, for example, your organization was a local police department, your operational zones could be separated into the North, Central, and South divisions in your city. If you worked for a university, your operational zones might be divided by the East and West campuses.

What are work zones?

Work zones are smaller areas within an operational zone that designate exactly where the officers will be working. Using the police department example, your organization might want to split up the North operational zone within your city by neighborhood or if you were at the university, the work zones at the East Campus could be broken down by departments, such as the Cafeteria, Laboratory, Library, and Residence.

What are teams?

Teams are groups of officers who are authorized to work in particular work zones. Officers are assigned to teams when they’re brought on duty by a dispatcher.

How do operational zones, work zones, and teams all come together?

In order to use Dispatch, each organization will need at least one operational zone, one work zone, and one team. Whether or not additional zones or teams are created depends on the needs of your organization and how and where it operates.

After an administrator creates an operational zone, he or she needs to break down that large area in your organization into smaller areas (work zones). Once those work zones have been created, the admin would create teams, then select the work zones the teams are authorized to work in. You can name your operational zones, work zones, and teams anything you want, but it might help to keep a theme for each area. This will help the dispatcher select the correct team to ensure all work zones are appropriately covered should an activity occur.

For example, after an admin created an East Campus operational zone for their university, they would then create the Cafeteria, Laboratory, Library, and Residence work zones. To help their dispatchers know which teams are authorized to work in each work zone, the admin creates the Cafeteria, Laboratory, Library, and Residence teams and assigns each team to the work zone of the same name.

Administrators should consider creating one or more teams that are authorized to work in every work zone. If, for example, an emergency occurred in multiple work zones, you could assign officers to work on the Emergency Team and quickly dispatch them to any work zone as needed.

Are work zones the same as locations?

No. Locations are saved places that are used to identify the exact whereabouts of a dispatch, task, or officer, whereas work zones designate areas of responsibility.

When it comes to dispatches, a work zone is the general area where a dispatch is occurring, but the location is the specific place the officer will need to go to. Work zones allow you to segment your resources around certain areas and therefore lessen the chances that an officer may be too far away to respond to a dispatch. For this reason, you should keep your Dispatch locations in mind when creating work zones. For more information on locations, see the Dispatch: What Are Locations? article.

How do zones and teams apply to Dispatch users?

All users, including administrators, reviewers, dispatchers, and officers, must be given access to at least one operational zone in order to determine which opzones he or she will have access to. These opzones are selected by an administrator in the Accessible Operational Zones section of a user’s profile.

For dispatchers, the opzones selected in their profile determine the zones where they can view, create, and edit dispatches, as well as the officers they can manage. The opzones selected in an officer’s profile determines where they can be brought on duty and the dispatches they can be assigned to. Administrators can perform dispatch duties as well as configure the settings within their selected opzones, whereas reviewers can only view dispatches in their selected opzones. 

How does a dispatcher know which team to select when bringing officers on duty?

Each time a dispatcher brings an officer on duty, they need to assign that officer to a team. As the officer's selected team will determine where an officer can actually work, it’s important for dispatchers to know where teams are authorized to work to ensure all dispatches are dealt with and all work zones have adequate security coverage.

Because only users with administrative rights can view the Work Zones & Teams settings, administrators may want to provide dispatchers with a chart that lists all the work zones and their assigned teams, which can then be printed for easy reference. You can download a template of this chart by clicking this link.

Alternatively, depending on your organization and its structure, it may help to name your zones and teams similarly. For example, if you’re an administrator and your East Campus opzone has Cafeteria, Library, and Residence work zones, you could name your teams Cafeteria, Library, and Residence. If you want certain teams to have access to more than one work zone, you could create a team called Cafeteria-Library then select both the Cafeteria and Library work zones in the Assigned Work Zones section in the Zones & Teams settings.

As mentioned above, it’s recommended that your organization has at least one team that’s authorized to work in every work zone, which could be useful during an emergency or when officers may need to access to multiple work zones.

Dispatchers can also remind themselves as to which work zones an on-duty officer can be dispatched to by hovering their cursor over their team in the Officers panel.

Where do I get more information about working with zones and teams?

If you’re an administrator, check out the Dispatch Administrator’s Guide, which will give you instructions on creating and editing your zones and teams. If you’re a dispatcher, see the Dispatch User’s Guide for information on how to work with zones and teams during your day-to-day dispatching activities. These guides can be downloaded from our User Guides page. Both administrators and dispatchers can also watch the Dispatch Full Length Recording training videos.

Of course, if you still have questions or need some help, you can always contact our Support team.

 

See also:

 

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