Philadelphia police show off new radio room used to field millions of emergency calls

When an emergency happens in Philadelphia, the first people callers talk to are housed at the police department's new communications center. 

The city's first first responders field over 2 million emergency calls a day that deal with everything from shootings and violence, to fires and medical episodes.

"It can be very stressful, because you are taking to people in their worst moment in time," Dispatcher Jan Nina Morton said. "And then it can be comical when a 2-year-old calls and tries to cuss you out." 

The Philadelphia Police Department moved its headquarters last year to the old Philadelphia Inquirer building on Broad and Callowhill streets. Among the upgrades includes a new radio room. 


"We talk about patrol at the Philadelphia Police Department as the backbone, well [dispatch] may be the heart of the operation," Staff Inspector Joseph McBride told FOX 29. 

The building also features a high-tech joint operations command center for larger, citywide operations. 

McBride says the recent addition of mental health delegates has provided a big help on the dispatch floor.

"Anyone who may be in crisis we immediately have a mental health delegate here in the room, they can work with us, and we can work with them to coordinate on the street," McBride said.

With calls coming fast and furious, dispatchers will tell you that the fast-paced high-stress job can become difficult to manage.

"You can’t take it home with you –  you cannot," Morton said. "The hardest part is to learn is to leave it here."

Amid a shortage of dispatchers, the Philadelphia Police Department is currently hiring dispatchers with a six-month training course.