Northwest Central Dispatch System

Professional Dispatch


Established 1972
Serving the following communities:

Arlington Heights

Buffalo Grove

Elk Grove Village

Hoffman Estates

Inverness Police

Mount Prospect


Palatine Rural Fire Protection District

Prospect Heights Police

Rolling Meadows



9-1-1 Citizen Satisfaction Survey

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Northwest Central Dispatch System is committed to providing the highest level of services we can to insure the health, safety and well-being of the public and our emergency responders.

Northwest Central Dispatch System (NWCDS) is a consolidated emergency dispatch system, serving twenty-one northwest suburban police and fire departments in suburban Cook County, Illinois. As of 2012, the combined population of the communities is approximately 489,913 covering over 125.66 square miles.

The center was renovated in 2003 to a state-of-the-art communication center.  The Center is staffed by Public Safety Telecommunicators.

NWCDS dispatches approximately 244,000 calls for service annually and answers an average of 1,358 telephone calls per day.  294,000 9-1-1 calls are received.

The telecommunication’s staff is responsible for receiving calls for assistance from the public and sending an appropriate police, fire or medical response. All Telecommunicators are EMD (Emergency Medical Dispatch) and EFD (Emergency Fire Dispatch) certified.


A Telecommunicator or Emergency 9-1-1 Calltaker/Dispatcher is a critical part of the emergency response team and is the first point of contact for the citizens of the communities served. An emergency  Telecommunicator is responsible for answering emergency calls on 9-1-1 and 10 digit emergency lines, dispatching police officers and firefighters to calls for service using a Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system.



NWCDS uses a Fire & Emergency Medical Dispatch System.  The system is a valuable way to identify & classify different types of fire and medical emergencies by providing pre-arrival and first aid instructions until firefighters & paramedics arrive on the scene of the emergency.

The EMD program is facilitated under the guidance of the Northwest Community Hospital Medical Director and each Telecommunicator providing EMD is licensed with the Illinois Dept. of Public Health.

If you have a Police, Fire or Medical Emergency
dial 9-1-1.


NWCDS utilizes an Enhanced 9-1-1  (E9-1-1) telephone network. In many cases the E9-1-1 system displays the caller’s name, location and phone number. This display is dependent upon whether the person is calling from a landline or cellular phone or the using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).

TEXT TO 9-1-1

Beginning August 18, 2014, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon customers living in or traveling through the Northwest Central Dispatch System service area may be able to use their mobile phones to send a text message to 911 for emergency help.

It is the first 911 communications center in Illinois to accept text 911 messages, which officials say is especially important for residents with speech or hearing impairments.

Texting 911 should be an option only when calling is not possible. A voice call is still the most efficient way to access emergency services, they say.

Texts should include clear location information with the first message, along with the nature of the emergency. Unlike voice calls, emergency personnel will not be able to determine location, nor will they be able to speak with the person sending the text to quickly ascertain their location. Abbreviations and slang should not be used.

If a text to 911 is not answered in a timely manner, customers should not hesitate to make a voice call to 911.

>> Text to 9-1-1 Fact Sheet

A Communications Hub For Speciality Dispatch Services


Northwest Central Dispatch System has been awarded accreditation as an EMD Dispatch Center of Excellence.

We are the the first center in Illinois and 139th in the world to earn this distinction.

Northwest Central Dispatch is the first center in Illinois to partner with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

We are dedicated to help ensure every missing and sexually exploited child is given the best chance to be found alive and unharmed.

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Announcing our Citizen Alert System!

NWCDS Alert is a telephone based emergency notification system that may be used to communicate critical information during an emergency when there is a threat to the health or safety of residents. In addition to emergency information, you may:

Select to receive messages regarding crime bulletins, road closures, municipal service alerts and other community events.

Choose the locations you want to be contacted about—your home, your parents’ home, your workplace and your child’s school located in the NWCDS coverage area.

Receive alerts on your home phone, cellular phone, work phone, email, TTY or instant messaging.

>>Learn More

Click Here
Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA)

The Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS) is the system interface to the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) service that wireless carriers have been rolling out across the nation in 2012. CMAS is a partnership between FEMA, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and wireless carriers, to enhance public safety.

CMAS allows public safety authorities to send geographically targeted, text-like Wireless Emergency Alerts to the public. WEAs will relay Presidential, AMBER, and Imminent Threat alerts to mobile phones using cell broadcast technology that will not get backlogged during times of emergency when wireless voice and data services are highly congested.

CMAS/WEA complements the existing Emergency Alert System (EAS) which sends warnings to television and radio via broadcast, cable, satellite, and wireline communications pathways.

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© Northwest Central Dispatch System 2014
1975 E. Davis Street, Arlington Heights, IL 60005 847-398-1130