If You Need the Police
How does 9-1-1 Work?
When 9-1-1 receives a call the system provides the operator with the name of the subscriber, address, telephone number, proper jurisdiction for police, fire or ambulance.
You can test (with prior permission of the Police department) what information is displayed from your home if a 911 call would be placed. This would allow you to verify that the correct information is being displayed in the case of an emergency.
You must call 322-5888 to schedule this test.
DO NOT call 9-1-1 and request your information be tested without prior approval. Special circumstances can be added to the computer bank.
How are 9-1-1 calls prioritized?
IMMEDIATE RESPONSE: Dispatched as soon as possible to closest available unit, a nearby unit on lower priority call can be broken free.
Conditions: Danger to human life or property (emergency), perpetrators at scene or still in area, evidence may be destroyed and magnitude of incident.
PRIORITY 2: Delayed response: requiring presence of police officer but not an immediate response, quality of police service will not decrease due to delay, may be "stacked" until appropriate police unit is available.
Why do the operators ask questions that they already have answers to?
Regardless of the information displayed on the screen, the 9-1-1 operator has to confirm that it has not changed. A digital recording system allows immediate playback of all phone and radio transmissions coming into the communications center - allowing call takers to quickly replay messages whenever necessary.
In addition, a Telephone Device for the Deaf (TDD) is used to assist hearing-impaired callers.
What is considered suspicious activity?
Vehicles in neighborhood cruising slowly and you think twice about it, people acting suspicious or activity at a neighbor’s house and you know that they are not home, alarms, screams, horn blowing, solicitors. Call 204-2100 for non-emergency situations.
What do I do if I find a child in trouble in water?
- Pull the child from the water, calling loudly for help the entire time
- Call - or have someone call 9-1-1 immediately for emergency assistance
- Begin CPR, if necessary
A User's Guide to 9-1-1 for Emergencies:
- Dial 9-1-1
- Tell the operator what the emergency is
- Wait for further instructions from the operator
- Don't hang up until the operator tells you to
What is an Emergency?
- Any serious medical problem (chest pain, seizure, bleeding)
- Any type of fire (business, car, building)
- Any life-threatening situations (fights, people with weapons, etc.)
What information will the operator need?
- The location where assistance is needed
- Your name and phone number
- The nature of the emergency
- Descriptions of suspects, or additional information
- Any distinguishing features (glasses, facial hair, scars)
- Body Style (2 door, station wagon, etc.)
- License number
Which way did the suspect leave?
- Were they running, or in a vehicle?
- Were they going north, south, east, or west?
- Always listen to the police operator for guidance. The questions they ask are for the safety of the public and the officers.
- Just because they are questioning you does not mean help is not on the way.
- Information is entered into a computer and dispatched at the same time. The officers may arrive while you are still talking to the operator.
- Remain on the line until told to hang up. The operator may need more information or to give you further instructions.
- Be familiar with your area. We can't help if you don't know where you are.
- NEVER directly intervene in a crime in progress.
What to do when you need help, but it's not an emergency:
- Dial (440) 204-2100
- Tell the operator the problem
- The operator will ask you questions and tell you when to hang up
Examples of Non-Emergency Calls
- Property damage accidents ("Fender Benders")
- Break-in to a vehicle (when suspect is gone)
- Theft of property (when suspect is gone)
- Vandalism (when suspect is gone)
- Intoxicated persons who are not disorderly
- Cars blocking the street or alleys
Some DON'TS for 9-1-1:
- Never program 9-1-1 into a memory location or "speed dial". It's the one number you'll probably never forget, but when this number is in memory, we get accidental calls from people pushing the wrong button.
- Never call 9-1-1 and just hang up. Our policy on "hang up" calls is to call back and attempt to verify if there is an emergency. If we cannot verify to our satisfaction that everything is all right, our policy is to send police officers to the indicated address.
This is to ensure that a person who is incapacitated can receive help without having to talk on the phone. Unfortunately, many "hang up" calls are false, and we have wasted police manpower and resources to respond to them. False calls cost you money, and tie up police officers who are needed on other calls.
Cellular Phone Users:
Cellular phones do not work the same way as regular phones. If you dial 9-1-1 from a cellular phone, please remember:
- Stay calm. We will not receive location or phone number information on a cellular call, and what you tell us is the only information we will have to determine how to respond.
- Know where you are. We need location information from you, and we have to determine if you are within our police jurisdiction. If you are not, we will have to transfer the call.
- Know your mobile number. We will ask for it, in case the call is disconnected, and we have to call you back for more information. (And, leave your phone "on" so we can call you back.)
- Try to use the seven-digit number for the agency you are calling if your call is not extremely urgent (Remember, our number is 204-2100). Sometimes this can be faster than using 9-1-1, because you directly reach the Lorain Police dispatcher, without a call having to be transferred.
- It's a good idea to program the seven-digit numbers for all law enforcement agencies in your travel area in your phone, if it is equipped with a memory. (And remember, never program 9-1-1 into a memory location or "speed dial.")
This number should be used to request police assistance on less urgent matters. Usually, these will be property damage accidents, reports of various crimes where the perpetrator is gone, and the primary function of the police will be information gathering and investigation. Also, incidents in progress which are of a less serious nature, such as nuisance calls, etc. should go to this number.
The department has a policy of handling certain property crimes by directing the complainant to come to the Central Police Station to file the report. This is done to allow uniformed officers more time for patrol and responding to urgent calls.