Please be advised on this (unofficial) public service announcement, which is straight from a Police Dispatcher. Also, the Cleveland Police non-emergency number is 621-1234.
1. Location, location, location.
In an emergency, it’s the number one thing dispatchers say you need to be ready to give them.
People sometimes assume that your location pops up on a map as soon as an emergency dispatcher answers the phone. Not necessarily true. If you’re calling on a mobile phone, they do not have the exact spot. Newer model mobile phones may give them general location information but not exact addresses. Older phone models would not have that information at all. An exact address is best, or a street and nearby cross street. If you don’t know those, try to provide landmarks to help dispatchers send help.
2. Stay calm.
The dispatcher has to be able to understand you to help you.
3. When it comes to information about the call, it’s usually, who, what, where, when and sometimes why.
Deputies don’t want to respond blindly to a call that might become violent. Often, dispatchers will ask if any weapons, drugs or alcohol are involved for officer safety information. Listen to the dispatcher and let them lead you through questions.
Rather than just ask you open-ended questions, they may give you multiple choice answers. Those are often easier to process for people who are upset.
People sometimes get frustrated with dispatchers because they think that in answering many questions, it is delaying a critical response. The dispatcher is not the one responding to the scene. In a public safety call, the deputy has already been dispatched and the information being gathered is being relayed simultaneously to the deputy heading to the scene of the call.
3. THERE IS A NON EMERGENCY NUMBER FOR EACH CITY.
If your call starts with “this isnt really an emergency” – know you shouldn’t be calling 911
Keys locked in a car is not a 911 call-unless a baby is in the car.
Your power going out- not a 911 call.
barking dogs – not 911
loud music – not 911
FIREWORKS – not 911
Animals locked in a car – not 911
911 is for LIFE & DEATH EMERGENCIES. ONLY.
Don’t tie up a 911 line