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This information is through the courtesy of the Community Liaison section of the Marion County Sheriff's Office Communications Division. Anyone who has ever had to call 911 knows the value and dedication of the Telecommunication (Dispatch) Operators.

The nation-wide emergency public safety number, 9-1-1, is for emergencies only
.

What is an emergency? An emergency is any crime, medical situation or fire that is in progress or any crime that has just occurred and the suspect is still on the scene or there is a possibility of apprehension, and any personal injury accident or any accident including any including any of the above criteria.

What is an Emergency? Some more specific examples are...

  • Crimes in progress
  • Suspicious activity (Prowlers, someone unfamiliar in the neighborhood)
  • Medical emergencies
  • Fires
  • Serious accidents / injuries
  • Person shot / shots fired
  • Person stabbed
  • Robbery / burglary in progress
  • Natural disasters (tornadoes, earthquakes, etc.)
  • Fights
  • Live wires down


Other Questions most often asked by the community:


Why does it take so long to get a dispatcher to answer when I'm calling 911 or the 327-3811 non-emergency number?

It seems like an eternity when there is an emergency and one is waiting for a response. In reality it is only seconds. PLEASE DO NOT HANG UP. Stay on the line as the telephone system is programmed that the next available telecommunicator will answer your call. If you hang up and have to call back your call will go to the end of the line and many other callers will be ahead of you. Again, DO NOT HANG UP. The emergency 911 calls take priority over the non-emergency 327-3811 number. If you cannot get through on the non-emergency number, you will know it is a very busy shift. As it is not an emergency try to call again, later.

Why does the telecommunicator hang up on me when I call to report a serious situation that requires the fire department or emergency medical service?

Telecommunicators do not hang up on callers. The click one hears is not a hang up, but rather a transfer to the appropriate agency. DO NOT HANG UP! You are being transferred to the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) or fire department dispatchers. Callers using 911 will first be asked specific questions in order for the telecommunicator to know to whom you should be transferred, but be prepared to give your information again to the applicable agency once you are transferred.

Why are Telecommunicators so abrupt with callers?

The telecommunicators have a very serious job to perform and are responsible for quickly obtaining answers to specific questions. They concentrate on getting the facts and acting promptly. This sometimes is mistaken for rudeness. Protecting victims, law enforcement officers and fire department personnel is among the main objectives. Following orders established by law enforcement officials helps ensure this objective.

Why doesn't an officer show up when I call in a situation that is in progress?

The caller must tell the dispatcher they wish to see an officer once the situation has been resolved in order to know what has transpired. Many times callers do not want an officer coming to their door for fear or retaliation from other neighbors. Further, if a situation is initiated at one address and then changes a location, the caller may not witness an officer arriving at the place of apprehension or where the report is taken. Again, the caller must request an officer, after the situation has been taken care of in order to obtain the information.

What Information should I provide when calling 911?

Please be prepared to give as much information as possible. There are six W's the dispatcher will ask. WHERE (the location must be confirmed), WHEN (is it occurring now?), WHO (is involved) and any description you can provide should be relayed as quickly as possible in order that the appropriate response can be dispatched. If you do not know the exact address of the emergency be prepared to give the nearest intersection, landmark or some other identifying criteria. In addition, WHAT (is going on), Welfare (of victims, in order to determine what type of response is needed) and WEAPONS (if any, are involved. This is for officer and citizen safety and determines priority).

How can I or my group get more information about using 911?

Please contact the Marion County Community Liaison for your area to provide more specific information to your group.

Sharon Tabard (Liaison for the Southeast and Northeast Districts)

(317) 327-6757

Sharon.Tabard@indy.gov

Diana Vanarsdall (Liaison for the North District)

(317) 327-4934

Diana.Vanarsdall@indy.gov

Barbara Huser (Liaison for the Southwest and Northwest Districts) 

(317) 327-3270

Barbara.Huser@indy.gov

*To request a copy of a 911 call tape please call: (317) 327-3554

We look forward to working with you and providing information to the community.

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