Supervisor Audrey Denis
Communications Section Supervisor
The Communications Section answers administrative calls and 911 calls within the city limits of Punta Gorda. This covers more than 21 square miles with a current population of 18,796. Public Safety Dispatchers at the Punta Gorda Police Department dispatch directly to police and fire personnel, while emergency medical calls are transferred by one-button direct connect to the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office for medical instruction and EMS dispatch service. The Punta Gorda Fire Department accompanies Charlotte County EMS on all medical emergencies as first responders within the city limits.
The Communications Section is staffed by 10 fulltime Public Safety Dispatchers and 1 Communications Section Supervisor. Shifts are either a four ten hour shifts or a combination of three twelve hours and one four hour shifts each week. Minimum staffing per shift is two Public Safety Dispatcher with one focusing primarily on law enforcement and the second Public Safety Dispatcher focusing primarily on fire rescue and answering the phone.
New Public Safety Dispatchers complete 13 weeks (520 hours) of training prior to working on their own. Each Public Safety Dispatcher is certified by the State of Florida Department of Health as a 911 Public Safety Telecommunicator. Each Public Safety Dispatcher is also certified as an Emergency Medical Dispatcher.
The Punta Gorda Communication Section was the 66th site in the State of Florida to be certified as a 911 Public Safety Telecommunications Program site. Our training program far exceeds the 232 hours of training required by the Department of Health in order to certify as a 911 Public Safety Telecommunicator. Each certified 911 Public Safety Telecommunicator must complete a minimum of 20 hours of training every two years in order to maintain their certification.
The Communication Section is capable of receiving 911 calls from cellular telephones, landline telephones, voice over internet protocol (VoIP) phones, and text to 911 calls. The text to 911 technology is intended for hearing and speech impaired persons who use text to communicate every day or for those people that due to the nature of the emergency may not be able to speak. While capable of receiving text to 911 calls some carriers may not be able to provide that service. In an emergency it is best to remember to call if you can, text if you can’t.
The main, non-emergency number to the police department is 941-639-4111.