Guidelines For Using 911
Information furnished by Msgt. M. W. Loruse & Lt. R. B. Mercer
When should I call 911?
Dial 911 in an emergency or to report information to the police. If you are not sure, call 911 and let us determine if the situation requires an emergency response. If we determine your call does not meet the emergency guidelines, we will supply you with the telephone number to call the agency that can provide the services needed.
911 is a phone number that is used to get the police to respond to anything that has to do with safety. It does not have to be an emergency in progress. For example, you would call 911 to report an auto burglary that was just discovered but happened a week ago. When dialing 911 a professionally trained call taker receives your call.
911 can be called free of charge from any phone including a cell phone. The dispatcher (the person answering the call) can quickly see where the caller is and can send a police officer to your location even without the caller giving any information about where they are or what is happening. For example, if someone breaks into your home at night and you are afraid to talk out loud for fear that you might be heard, the dispatcher can send a police officer to your residence to check on your welfare without your even saying a word. Please note, cell phone users must give the dispatcher their location.
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231-2121 is also an emergency phone number that goes to the same place as 911, only the dispatcher, the person who answers the call, can’t see who or where the caller is calling from. The caller can remain anonymous (unknown) when using this number.
The 231-2121 number may be good if someone sees gang members that live next door drinking and fighting. The caller may want the police to stop them before there is trouble but does not want the police to come to their door so that the gang members know who called in the complaint.
Remember, the problem with calling the anonymous 231-2121 number is that if you give the wrong location, the police will never know how to contact you to get the correct address. They also cannot locate you in case of emergencies.
The 231-2121 number is a great tool to use if you want to report suspicious activity but do not want to be identified with the report, but use it wisely. Do not use this number instead of 911 if you want immediate attention from the police.