Dispatch Priming

Incorrect information provided to officers can cause them to make tragic shooting errors. Learn how you can control dispatch priming.

An intensive 8-hour course for public safety dispatchers.

Dispatch priming can be positive or negative (bet you have never heard that before!).

A negative example would be if a dispatcher gave erroneous information to an officer that led to that officer unwittingly making a disastrous shooting decision. But dispatch priming isn’t that simple.

As a dispatcher, you can’t simply omit that the caller mentioned the suspect had a gun. So, what are you supposed to do?

Researchers have only recently begun to study this complex phenomenon. One study noted that “priming officers with incorrect dispatched information about what a subject was holding significantly increased the likelihood for a shooting error while priming officers with the correct information…significantly decreased the likelihood for error.”¹

Join us for an in-depth look into dispatch priming and learn why most people don’t understand this complex phenomenon. The instructor for this course is an active-duty senior dispatcher for a busy agency. She’ll share a behind the scenes look at this issue along with the specific tools you can use to avoid the negative outcomes of dispatch priming.

  • Learn to understand priming: the good and the bad
  • Learn what you can control and what you can’t
  • Examine real-world dispatch priming incidents
  • Examine the positive and negative aspects of bias and heuristics
  • Learn about the science of decision-making & the psychology of communication
Dispatch Priming

Your Instructor

Kristy Dorton

Kristy Dorton

Instructor Kristy Dorton is an active-duty Public Safety Dispatcher II and Communications Training Officer with the Sacramento Police Department. She is also a California POST Master Instructor. Kristy has studied the complexities of dispatch priming and designed this course to help fellow dispatchers avoid it.

More about Kristy

Students Are Saying:

“My favorite part was learning how priming isn’t always a bad thing. This class need to be standard for all dispatchers!”

— Lead Dispatcher J. Vitale, Antioch PD (CA)

“I thought this was a course about what dispatchers do wrong but its not. It’s about how important our job is and getting back to basics.”

— Dispatcher Ashley D., Brentwood PD (CA)

“Before this class I was wondering if I myself prime officers. This class gave good examples and taught me that priming can be positive. I’m excited to get back to work with these new tools.”

— Dispatcher S. Arvicio , Pima County SO (AZ)

“Attend this course. You will walk away with helpful info and the instructor was great.”

— Dispatcher S. Evoniuk, Brentwood PD (CA)

“Before this course I wasn’t confident in how to provide training in priming to my center. I feel more confident after attending and highly recommend this course.”

— Dispatcher P. Lopez, Newark PD (CA)

“After taking this class, I have tools to go back and brief my staff about what they can do to prevent the negative outcomes of priming.”

— Communications Manager Roy Stanifer, Maricopa PD (AZ)

“I thought the class would be finger pointing at dispatchers but instead it proved that there is only so much we can do. My favorite part were the group discussions and being able to talk through the issues we face.”

— Dispatcher A. Cannon, Brentwood PD (CA)

Quick Facts

Target Audience:

Police dispatchers and call takers. Also open to sworn law enforcement officers

Course Length:

8 hours (1 day)

Course Certifications:

California POST Certified. Need certification for your state?
All of our courses are California POST certified because we are based in California. However, we present courses all over the United States and we’re happy to work with you to obtain certification in your particular state.


$299. This course is eligible for ATA reimbursement through CALOES.

Can your agency host this course?


1 Taylor, P. L. (2020). Dispatch Priming and the Police Decision to Use Deadly Force. Police Quarterly, 23(3), 311–332. https://doi.org/10.1177/1098611119896653

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