When to use 9-1-1 vs. the Non-Emergency Number
911 should only be used for an emergency such as:
What is an emergency?
- Any serious medical problem such as chest pain, seizures and/or severe bleeding.
- Any type of uncontrolled or unsupervised fire.
- Any life-threatening or serious crime in progress
What are non-emergency calls?
Property-damage accidents (‘fender benders’.)
Vehicle break-ins (when suspect is gone)
Theft (when suspect is gone)
Vandalism (when suspect is gone)
Intoxicated persons who are not disorderly
Always listen to the dispatcher.
Do not hang up until they tell you to do so.
The questions they ask are for your safety and the safety of the public and the officers.
Just because they are asking questions does not mean that help is not already on the way.
Information is entered into a computer & dispatched to the proper units.
How to Call 9-1-1
All 911 calls are received by dedicated TCOs who are highly trained to quickly and efficiently screen calls. They have to get information quickly in order to get police officers enroute to the location.
Dial 911. (No money is necessary when using a pay phone).
Tell the 911 operator what you need; ambulance, firefighters or police.
Be calm. It is important to speak clearly so that vital information can be quickly obtained.
Stay on the phone. Do not hang up!
Give your name and street address.
Note: If your address is different from the location of the crime, be sure to let the operator know. Emergency operators will verify your address and telephone number to ensure that the listing is current and accurate. People living in mobile home parks, condominiums or on private roads often have addresses that differ from the telephone company’s listing. If you fall in one of these categories contact City Engineering to find out what your legal street address is.
If you can give information to the operator regarding a suspect/s description, weapons if any, and vehicle description/s and license number/s, please do so.
Please note: It is a crime for any person to willfully use the 911 system for any purpose other than to report an emergency. It is a felony if someone is injured or dies as a result of emergency service response to a false call.
One last important note
When calling 9-1-1, it is important that you remain on the line, even if you dial in error. If you dial in error and the call goes through and you didn’t stay on the line, the dispatcher is required to send police to the location from which the call came to confirm that no emergency exists.