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When to call 911?

Calling the police is always a good idea when you want to get involved in a crime prevention. But sometimes calling the police or other authorities is more than a good idea - it's a must.

Surprisingly, many people hesitate to call the police out of fear of getting involved, or of being identified, or even of fear of sounding silly or over-suspicious. But the police need and want your help in preventing crime.

You should call police when you:

* Have an emergency and need police, fire, or medic response.
* Need an officer to take a report (e.g., stolen vehicle, burglary, vehicle prowl).
* See suspicious activity (people in the parking lot looking in cars; strangers loitering where you need to go and you feel frightened; you come home to an open door and you're afraid to go inside). If you have a "gut feeling" you should be talking to the police, call.
* Would like a "welfare check" on someone who typically communicates with you and does not respond after several contacts.
* Have a concern regarding animals. Animal Control responds to complaints regarding excessive barking, lost/found, injured or abused animals.

Non-emergencies include noisy parties, barking dogs, abandoned or stripped vehicles, youths playing ball in the streets, fireworks, hot rods or mini bikes, parking and other minor complaints. For non-emergency situations call your local police precinct.

When you don't know or are in doubt, do not try to determine if you have an emergency; call 9-1-1 and let the dispatcher assist you.

When the 911 dispatcher answers, he/she will ask what you are reporting. If it's a non-emergency, say so, then answer the questions. Let the dispatcher lead the conversation, as they are looking for very specific information and need to keep lines clear and use the telephone time efficiently. They are most likely dispatching emergency personnel as you speak if the situation warrants.

Helpful Information

Enhanced 911 provides emergency operators with a computer display of the name, address, and the telephone number of the registered owner of the telephone being used for the call.

* When you call the Telephone Company to have service installed, be sure to give your correct name and address. Your address may be verified by calling your local building or planning department. Also, notify your telephone company if this information changes.
* The 911 operator will verify your location even though it may be displayed on the computer screen. Except in cases when a caller is unable to speak, the computer information is always verified.
* Telephone number misdials can activate the numbers 911. If the caller hangs up, the 911 operator is required to call back and ensure no emergency assistance is needed. If there is no response, law enforcement will be dispatched.
* Do you have a cordless telephone? Low batteries may activate 911. Check batteries regularly.
* Are your address and telephone number posted near all telephones? In an emergency, they are easily forgotten, reversed, or unknown.
* In an emergency, would your house number or mailbox be easy to read from the street, day or night? Your house number or mailbox are critical landmarks guiding police, fire or aid to your door.
* Note that some phone connections, such as party lines, cellular, and some commercial telephone applications may not display subscriber information.

What to Do in a Medical Emergency

In a medical emergency, seconds count. Emergency personnel will be sent as quickly as possible. 911 personnel can offer specific instructions like CPR, Heimlich Maneuver, and childbirth to help until medical personnel arrive. To determine an appropriate emergency medical response, you may be asked:

* The nature of the medical problem
* The approximate age of the individual(s) involved
* Whether the victim is conscious and/or alert
* Is there any difficulty in breathing?

We Hope You Never Need 911, But If You Do

* Stay calm. Don't get excited. Take a deep breath.
* Speak clearly
* State the problem you are reporting
* Listen carefully to the questions asked and instructions given
* Be prepared to answer the following:
o Location of the problem
o Your name
o Phone number you are calling from

911 Call Priorities of a major U S city

Classifications Factors

Dispatch Method
emergency police response (lights
and sirens)

* Immediate threat to life.
* Violent criminal act in progress.
* Violent incident just occurred and there is a likelihood of suspect apprehension.

Units sent immediately

* Armed robbery
* Stabbing
* Sexual assault in progress
* Shooting

Immediate police response

* Criminal offense just occurred
* Suspects are still in the area or just left the scene
* Potential violence or imminent danger
* Non-violent criminal offense in progress with suspects still on scene (example: someone vandalizing property, kids throwing rocks at cars)
* Citizen’s arrest with suspect resisting (ex: shoplifter in custody causing problems)

Units sent immediately, if available. If no units are available in that beat, the dispatcher determines the closest available unit and sends that unit to the call.

* Domestic disturbance
* Physical altercation
* Accident with injuries
* Gunshots fired
* Report of sexual assault (suspect fled)
* Hold-up or panic alarm
* Robbery (suspects fled or no weapon used)

Reasonable police field response

* No offense is in progress
* A delay in police response is not likely to result in a criminal offense
* A delay is not likely to result in further injury, loss of property, or adversely affect investigation
* No reason to believe suspect is on scene or in area
* Citizen's arrest with suspect not resisting.

The goal is to send the beat officer so he/she is aware of crimes in his/her area. If beat officer is not available, dispatcher may hold the call for up to 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, dispatcher will send an officer from another beat.

* 911 hang ups*
* Shoplifter in custody/not resisting
* Commercial or residential alarm
* Runaway or missing person report
* Suspicious person

As-available basis by the beat officer A delay is not likely to adversely affect investigationNo change in physical evidence expectedSuspect description unknown¨ Suspect not nearComplainant is requesting contact The goal is to send the beat officer. Dispatcher may hold the call for up to one hour, but will dispatch an officer from another beat if the beat officer is still unavailable after one hour. Loudmusic**
Barking dogs** Residential or commercial burglary report (suspect fled) **
Assault report**
Other reports where suspect is not on scene**

Beat officer on a when- available basis

* No complainant is waiting
* Delayed investigation or report
* Follow-up incident

The goal is to send the beat officer. Dispatcher may hold the call for up to two hours, but will dispatch an officer from another beat if the beat officer is still unavailable after two hours.

* Found or abandoned property**
* Lost property**