If I call 911, what will they ask me?

1) What is the location of the emergency? This is the address where the emergency is actually happening. If you do not know the actual address, tell the dispatcher. They may ask the following:

  • Cross streets or a "hundred block".
  • Provide landmarks, business names or parks near the emergency.
  • Look at the house numbers in the area.
  • If you are calling from inside a home or business, look on a piece of mail.

2) When asked for a location, we need you to be specific.

Also, if the suspect just left (such as a theft suspect), we need to know which way that suspect went and a description of how he looked.

3) If you are asked to describe a subject / suspect, start with the most obvious things.

Some examples are:

  • Race factor of the subject or suspect.
  • Does he/she have a weapon?
  • How tall is he/she?
  • Approximately how much does the subject weigh?
  • Approximate age of subject/suspect?
  • What type of clothing is he/she wearing?
  • Do you know the subject/suspect or ever seen them before?

4) If you describe a vehicle, include:

  • License plate information, including the state.
  • Color of the vehicle
  • Year. (If unknown, tell the dispatcher if it was a new or old vehicle.)
  • Make. (Was it a Honda, Nissan, or Ford?)
  • Body style. (Was it a 4-door? Hatchback? Pick-up truck? 2-door?)
  • Other things you may remember. (dents, etc.)

5) What is the phone number you're calling from?

This is the number to the phone you're actually calling from. We need this in case we have to call you back.

6) What is the problem?

Tell us exactly what happened. Be as concise as possible. Tell us what the problem is now, not what led up to the problem.

  • "I see a fight on the corner of 6th and Main."
  • "I am fighting with my husband."
  • "There is a car accident Northbound on 19th Iowa St.

We also need to know if you are going to be at, or near, the scene when we arrive because the police may need to talk to you, or you may need to point out the exact location. We may ask you what kind of car you are in, or what color clothing you are wearing.